I haven’t written on my blog for a few months now, and even though I’ve missed spending time on this passion of mine, I simply haven’t felt inspired enough to sit down and pen my thoughts. There have been some pretty major changes in my personal life which I’m still adjusting to, and this has meant time has become more of a constraint for me. Last week I received a heart-breaking message from a very dear friend, and ever since I have felt compelled to unlock my thoughts once again.
With age comes life experience, and with life experience we can find ourselves in the most unthinkable situations. Last week this transpired in reality when a friend whom I consider to be my soul sister contacted me to say her younger brother had sadly taken his own life. At the time of receiving the message, I scanned it and read all of five words before running out the house to call her. I didn’t think about the fact she may not be ready to speak, I just needed to hear her voice, I needed to try. She picked up and we both immediately broke. My heart was breaking for her and her heart was just breaking.
Why was my beautiful friend having to go through such tragedy? The girl who has been a pillar of strength to me for fifteen years. The girl who has always supported our entire friendship circle with her endless love and wisdom. I didn’t want her to have to need us in such a way, but she did, and I knew it was our duty to return the love she has always cushioned us with.
Going to bed that evening I simply couldn’t shake her brother from my thoughts. A man with a family and two beautiful boys. A man who at the tender age of thirty had his entire life in front of him, but a man who had gotten lost down the dark road of depression and was unable to find his way home. He was surrounded by people desperate to keep his head above water, but this deadly illness had riddled his mind and in the end he wasn’t able to fight the tidal wave that life had sent his way.
In the days that followed, I became very aware that my friend had adopted the carer role within this tragic situation life had thrown her into. Being a midwife, this is instinctive, and so natural, but I couldn’t help but worry about who was taking care of her. I knew I wouldn’t feel at ease until I’d seen her for myself, and that the other girls were feeling exactly the same. When the funeral details were confirmed, we all took the day off work without hesitation and began planning the logistics of our journey to Bradford. I suddenly felt like I had aged ten years, I didn’t want to be grown up anymore, I wanted to go back in time to when we were all eighteen and life was carefree.
On the day of the funeral we left London at 5.30am, and as we hit the road I couldn’t help but think how lucky we were to have each other. True friends that would do anything to support each other, to ease the pain and amplify the love. If ever I was to go through anything so life changing, these are the girls I would want by my side every single time.
The funeral itself was one of the most dignified I have ever been to. The family were so united and conducted themselves so graciously despite the circumstances surrounding their loss. How was it that a mother and father were sat in front of their child’s coffin preparing themselves to lay him to rest. My thoughts ran away to places that I didn’t want them to go, and mentally I found myself in their shoes. As I imagine all children are for their parents, Virràe is my heart and soul, he’s my inspiration and the reason for so much that makes me who I am today. I can’t even entertain the thought in my mind, but being at the funeral, watching this play out as a reality for my friends parents, it left me feeling desperate to never want to be in that position. No parent should ever have to bury their child.
After the hymns had been sung, my friend bravely delivered a eulogy. She stood there with a warm smile on her face speaking so honestly of her brother and letting us all into the privacy of their incredible relationship. I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the room. I was bursting with pride for the sheer fact this inspiring woman was my friend, but my heart was heavy with the pain that I knew was in hers. At the burial, she nestled between us, her girls, and we held onto her she approached her final goodbye.
For this young man, every thought was a battle, and every breath was a war. He was living in a body that was fighting to survive with a mind that didn’t want to be here anymore. His pain is gone, and his soul is free, but for those that he leaves behind, whilst grief is never ending, it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is by no means a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith, it is simply the price of love.