Today marks 10 years since someone very close to me died. He had barely turned 20 just a couple of weeks before.
I’ve lost a lot of people in my life, far more than someone my age should have, but this one hit me the hardest.
I think it actually gets harder each year, I feel like the older I get the more I realise just how much he’s missed. It makes my heart ache realising how much he will miss. I wish so badly sometimes that I could go back and tell him to hold on, not to take the same steps he did that night. I wish I could tell him to get through his struggles, and that things could work out for both of us. I wish I could tell him how much there is still to see and do, and that we weren’t as grown up as we felt.
We were both so lost, so damaged. We thought we were adults, thought we knew it all. It wasn’t until I really made it into adulthood that I realised we weren’t, he wasn’t.
Something I rarely speak about is how I was the last person to be with him. He was supposed to stay with me the night that he died, but he changed his mind last minute. Had I asked him to just stay, maybe he would still be here. It ate away at me so bad for a long time, I dealt with a lot of self blame for his death.
I remember getting to a point, just over a year after he had died where it all got too much. I was at a friends house, we were all drinking and my head spiralled badly about how it was all my fault. I got up to leave instinctively, a friend realised how bad a place I was in and he stopped me. He had to physically stop me, restrain me. I lashed out at him initially and tried to force him out of the way until eventually I broke down in tears. That was the first time I told anyone it was ‘my fault’. I’m so grateful to that friend now in hindsight, I don’t know where I was going in that headspace.
Of course I know it isn’t my fault now, he was his own person who would’ve done whatever he wanted, and there was no reason for me to worry that I wouldn’t see him again. But I still find myself wondering what would have happened if I had just asked him to stay. Where would we be now, where would he be?
I felt such a strong connection with him as soon as I met him. We clicked naturally on a deep level and I cared for him so much. He was thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate, funny, and so caring – if anything I believe he cared too much for others. I’ve never met another soul quite like him. He helped me through some of the darkest times in my life, he gave me the confidence to leave an abusive relationship and to sort out some of my problems. He was one of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever met, to this day.
He had more life experience than many even 10 years older than him in a lot of ways, he was so intelligent, but he also had a naivety about him. He was a romanticist. He romanticised everything, right down to the shitty situation we were both in. He was such a wonderful person.
He struggled badly sometimes. His battle with depression was a tough one. I suppose in some ways it was that we bonded over, our shared difficulties led us to the same troubled place in life, doing the same crazy things, desperate to find where we fitted and to just feel ‘ok’.
I only knew him for a couple of years, but he did more for me in those 2 years than he could ever know. We needed each other at that time, even if it was short lived. He made such a permanent mark on my life. I’m not even sure I would be alive today if it wasn’t for him, at best I’d be in a fucking awful situation. He helped me to become who I am now. He believed in me so strongly, and so effortlessly that it gave me courage at a time where I was completely lost and broken.
I remember our last day together. We spent the day together, we had such a lovely time as we always did. I was due to go into a detox unit the following morning. He sat down on the chair opposite my bed with a serious look on his face, and gave me such a speech about how he believed in me, how he knew I could do it. He gave me a massive hug and then left me with that same cheeky smile as always. I had no idea that would be the last time I saw him.
On the 16th of this month he should have turned 30. There are so many things he should have done with his life. So many things he will never get to experience. It breaks my heart that he can’t do any of these things.
It’s strange, the role that social media plays after someone has died. I wrote on his wall today, and it’s such a weird experience. Many people still write on someone social media once they’re no longer here. It’s like in a weird way a part of them still is here, but at the same time I felt that desperation for him to reply to me, even though of course I know he never will.
He would be proud of me now, I know he would. He would laugh at me a little for being where I am, for conforming and having the job I have now, but he would be so fucking proud.
He made a mark on so many peoples lives, not just my own. He was truly one of a kind and I know that it’s not just my heart that hurts for him.
My thoughts are with his family today, as a parent myself now I can’t even imagine what they’ve been through and how hard it is for them.
To you Harry. I will never stop missing you.