We said goodbye to my partner’s best friend today. The guy who he went travelling to Japan with a couple of weeks after we met. They had such a lot of shared experiences; in many ways more than we’ve had in half the time (countries at least – they/he loved to travel).
He was a great wingman. The funeral today demonstrated that he was everyone’s best friend. And yet everyone took it for granted that he’d be around forever, at least a lot longer than dying at our age, way too soon for “natural causes”.
It wasn’t natural causes, of course. He was struck down by something as strong as cancer or a heart attack. Himself.
It doesn’t make sense because the first word everyone uses to describe him is “cheery” or “cheeky”. He was the life and soul of the party. He was everyone’s buddy. Even I, on the periphery, accepted him as just… him. A funny little guy with sticky out ears and a massive smile. The kind of guy who’d always be up for a drink and a laugh. Who’d do anything for anyone.
Someone long ago did something terrible to him as a child, an adult who broke his trust and put cracks of grief in him that would widen over time. And over time, it became too much for him. Or there was not enough to keep him in this world, even though his friends took it for granted he’d always be there. There was darkness in his world, despite all the light he brought to it.
It’s hard not to feel angry that he is gone, that he’s left my T bereft of his assumed retirement buddy. (I know there’s me but there would have been them shooting the breeze over beers whilst I rolled my eyes in the background.) Now I’ll never get to roll my eyes at him again, except for virtually.
Why did you leave, buddy? Seriously. You were, are so loved. A tonne of people of all shapes and sizes and colours turned out for a little Indian guy with the huge smile and the even bigger heart.
The Indian chants or blessings were a comfort. They told how we must not cry, we must not be sad, because he was returning home, we must just say the words. (The holy words or blessings. I don’t know them, but many did.)
I saw how my partner’s eyes teared up as they’ve done so many times this week. I heard him choke through beautiful words for a eulogy – his three best friends all shared testaments to his brilliance and the joy he brought. His mum, left years ago by his dad’s death, was comforted by what she called “her new sons”. But how can you ever get over the death of your only son, years after your husband died young? I don’t know if the holy words could help. I hope they did, and the eulogies.
It doesn’t seem real to me, that we will never see him again. T and some other friends went to the Indian ceremony where they have an open coffin and they bless him. Maybe I’d understand more if I’d seen him, but I think I’d like to remember him as he was, not as his death made him.
I’m so sad we won’t get to see him get married or have children. He was so thoughtful when we had B, I remember thinking he’d done really well as he sent a thoughtful gift as a single guy with no kids! And then for B’s birthday he started him a collection of Disney Tsum Tsums… I feel sad he’ll never be around to hear B call him “uncle” or add to the collection he started.
It doesn’t seem fair that someone could have set into motion a chain of events so long ago that would have deprived him of all that, to have made him not want to stay with us or build his own life and family.
A while ago I read about a young woman who’d lost her husband to suicide. No warnings. I started following her on social media as she raised awareness of mental health and rebuilds her life. I didn’t realise then that I’d ever know someone who left this world voluntarily. It’s not something I can understand, although I’m trying.
One of the things she said was that she was so angry and grief stricken when he died. She asked, was I not enough to keep him here? And a friend said, you were the only thing keeping here for all these years.
I hope that T and his friends can realise that they kept their friend here as long as he was able. And that whatever we all believe, now he is at peace.