Grieving

It’s impossible to write this post in any way that does justice to the sad events I’m writing about. I don’t normally talk about religion, politics, current events or personal moments here but today I am.

I didn’t want to write about the events in Orlando in the immediate aftermath because I wanted to write after I’d had some time to sit with the news and write something a little more reflective than reactionary.

I also didn’t want to write about it then because very sadly on the Monday after, I lost a good friend of mine here in London.

It took some days after that initial news of his death before his friend was able to post more information to his Facebook page that after several battles with his mental health over the years, my friend Adam felt he could struggle no longer. He left letters for his friend and his partner explaining his decision,  and he took his own life.

I’ve been very lucky to have nearly thirty-three years without losing any of my friends or immediate family besides grandparents. This year I’ve lost two friends – one I could best describe as an old clubbing buddy, and Adam who over the last four years has been a very good friend and a constant source of fun, support and trust. If you think back about this year, there has been an incredible amount of death and change… there’s been an inordinate number of celebrity deaths – David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Alan Rickman, David Gest, Muhammed Ali, Paul Daniels, Prince, and sadly just last week Anton Yelchin, the 27yr old actor playing Chekhov in the Star Trek reboots.

This week Britain has voted to leave the European Union. David Cameron has announced he will resign in three months, just a year after winning a general election. There is so much change and flux in the normal status quo…

I very recently finally met a guy I’d chatted to once or twice who actually came with a ‘recommendation’ from my friend Adam, who said that “you two would be seriously sleazy trouble if you hooked up”. Mark is a Buddhist (who used to be a monk) and is very spiritual. It was actually Mark who broke the news about Adam’s death to me. But before that, we’d been talking about the way this year seems to be so tumultuous and he said to me that this is a year of transition and change. This year will see a lot of this kind of sudden and abrupt change in the normal flow of things.

It’s helped me somewhat when thinking about the larger scale events such as the surprising decision to leave the EU, the unbelievable tragedy of Orlando, the bombings in Brussels, to the smaller closer-to-home moments such as the death of friends, the ill health of friends (two friends I know this year have had strokes) and a number of shocking resignations where I work,  to try and make some sense of it by seeing it as part of a larger, natural process. The energies and frequencies of the universe – the Qi or Tao or quantum waves or whatever underlying natural energy drives us forward is somehow altering or resetting or having ripples that are having these effects. Yes all this death is completely senseless, painful, untimely and seems to serve no purpose but to cause us grief and heartache but maybe there is some unknown reason for it all.

I have watched a lot of survivors of the Orlando shooting talk about their experiences inside Pulse and it is the stuff of nightmares that fills my heart with horror and sadness. Then I think of Adam who was such a lovely friend, who chose to leave this world on his own terms and I agree with his partner – we may struggle with his choice, but it was his to make and we must respect that. Adam and I confided a lot of personal feelings not shared with many to each other and several times we both told each other how glad we were to know and have each other in our lives. I will miss him so much but I am certain that he knew how much I loved him.

My birthday is in two weeks and Adam and I had talked a few times about plans for a bit of a birthday treat for me, and this week I was choked up to hear that Adam and Mark had actually been discussing what they could arrange for me. My last few birthdays have been particularly unmemorable to the point where I’ve not even celebrated them – to know that he was planning something for me is so touching it’s even more sad that it won’t come to pass.

The night I found out about his death I realised that I couldn’t stay in London that weekend and celebrate my birthday here – he would be missing from it all and I see nothing to celebrate in that. So I went online, booked flights to Berlin and I’m going to do him proud by organising the kind of weekend he would have arranged for me as we’d talked about, somewhere we both had a lot of love for and enjoyed good times, somewhere where I can feel like he’s with me as a companion and not conspicuous by his absence.

Mark and I went to his memorial service on Friday afternoon – at a beautiful place in Richmond in gorgeous sunshine – holding each other throughout, before coming back to my place to keep each other company and take the time to say goodbye and thank him for playing a part in bringing new friendship to both of us. I couldn’t have got through this without Mark and I know he feels the same.

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What’s my point with any of this? It’s hard to find a point to all this loss. But more than anything it reinforces one of my strongest beliefs and standards: be nice to each other. Be nice to the guy you hook up with. Be nice to the people you work with. Be nice to the people who make your coffee or bring your lunch. Be nice to the person who usually annoys you. Be nice to your friends. Be nice to yourself. There is so much grief at the moment and just a smile or a kind word can really help someone feel like they’re not alone in their pain.

And you thought all I would write about on this blog was cock 😘


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