Thursday, 27 March 2014

It's Been a Long Time Since

The 4th of November 2012... it's been 508 days, to be exact, since that Sunday morning in early November when I was busy watching my child as he ran up the steps and down the slide over and over, careful all the time to avoid an accident - little did I know how soon I would be confronted with that ugly word.

My mobile phone rang and an awful premonition set in. It was an old friend from college who in jerky phrases announced that our mutual friend had just died in a car crash. Followed by another two phone-calls, from my mother-in-law and then my brother, both thinking they would break the news to me.
I remember when my grandma died I had felt sadness and a discomfort at being close to the coffin during the funeral. I missed her and for a while couldn't believe she was gone. But that had been someone older, someone in hospital, someone who had aged to the point of going almost blind and barely able to walk at all. This was different.

I spent quite a few days in a daze, in denial, wearing black at times even, which I had not done for my grandma other than to attend her funeral. I kept on replaying the last words we'd ever spoken to each other and flooded my Facebook with ambiguous statuses about losing a friend (so much so that another friend private-messaged me to see if everything was right between me and my husband, thinking he was the 'lost friend' I was talking of).
The funeral service, so crowded that I stood outside and watched it on the big-screen, was the most dismal hour I remember standing through, looking at that coffin on screen and willing myself to believe that my friend really was in there. That precious friend who had phoned me up when I was in the hospital, the one who had admired and encouraged me as my relationship with my husband grew in our teenage years when everyone else thought we were too young to really make it work. The one friend I thought of whenever I was feeling confused, and in whom I imagined confiding my problems. I never did get around to messaging him with my problems as I always thought he'd be disappointed if he saw the real adult me. Only now that he's gone do I talk to him and tell him 'This is the mess I am in, the craziness that is my life, these are the things I keep doing the wrong way, failing over and over to get them right.'
It took long months to lay the ghost to rest, long months during which I still wanted to private message his facebook and will him to reply. I still looked at the photos of the crash and the funeral, both of which had made it into the newspapers, whilst snapshots from our college days kept recurring in my mind. I remembered especially well the sound of his voice and  the particular way he had of pronouncing his 'R's. I recalled him making resolutions, his zest for life and most importantly his unwavering smile. No wonder the newspapers called him 'The Priest With The Smile'. May you rest in peace my beloved friend, never to be forgotten and always in my heart still, I shed more tears as I think of you yet again.
Here is a link to related articles from some of the papers:

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