Grief is weird. I mean REALLY weird.
For those of you who don’t know, in the early hours of July 5th 2017, one of the best humans I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, was killed. Whilst heading home after his absolute favourite day of the year, he was an unintended victim of gang violence, the aftermath of gun violence. He was struck down by a vehicle fleeing the scene of a shooting. He was killed saving the lives of other people. He died a hero.
In the days/weeks that followed, the outpouring of love I saw across social media was truly beautiful to behold. I watched, my heart absolutely broken, as all these people I had never met told the world how much they loved my friend. Loved their friend.
I received messages from people I adore as well as from people I haven’t spoken to in a long time saying how sad they were.
I was also seeing posts from people that I didn’t even know knew Scott, people who I went to uni and as far as I knew, had met him maybe once. I remember sitting there being annoyed at these people. “How DARE they, they didn’t even know him”. And then it clicked. Every single person who met him, no matter if it was for just 1 hour, was touched (most of the time literally…he had a habit of licking faces!) by Scott, by his energy, by his warmth, his ability to make you feel like you were the only person in the world who mattered. He also had this incredible ability to have an insanely active social life, be super studious, be in every lecture and still sleep so he met an AWFUL lot of people! My thought quickly changed from “how dare they” to “how dare I” who gave me the right to dictate who can and can’t be upset. That’s grief.
I also remember thinking in the weeks that passed how much all my old uni friends came together, how much we checked in on each other, how much energy went in to planning the MOST amazing memorial event that really couldn’t have been more “Scott”!
We all vowed to stay in touch. To be more Scott. To make sure we connect more.
We failed. But that is ok. Grief bought us together but life got in the way. We have occasional messages back & forth but those old friendships really haven’t been re-forged. Not for me anyway. And that makes me sad. But that’s grief.
In the last year, I have thought more about Scott and Tart (his incredible boyfriend, pictured above) than I did in the 8 years prior. So many times I have thought “I would love Scott to know about this” or “omg Scott would adore that”. I will hear song lyrics and a memory of him will come back (usually a drunk one). Whilst he was alive, I took advantage of the fact that he was there. I would message him on his birthday, or 4th July (happy freedom day buddy) or Christmas, or randomly when I missed him. He would message me when he served people from the Wirral, or my birthday, or when he missed me. But we were no longer close. I always knew that if I needed him, he was there. And I hope he knew the same was true the other way round. But now I CAN’T message him, it’s all I want to do. But that’s grief.
Today, as I sit and type this, I have seen his face multiple times across social media. People saying how much they miss him. People telling the world what he meant to them. People marking the year we have had without him. It HURTS my heart, it hurts every single part of my soul. I haven’t been able to see his picture all year without tears in my eyes. His happy, smiley, bearded face which used to make my heart happy because I knew he was living his absolute best life, now breaks my heart. But that’s grief.
Tomorrow, the day I am choosing to mark this awful loss, the day recorded as the day we lost him, I am off to the theatre. It seems like a really happy thing to do, a really apt thing to me. We did a drama degree, we often went to the theatre together (and to some very none traditional theatre performances!) I was actually on my way to see Romeo & Juliet when I got the news. I was sat in a restaurant sobbing. (I was such a mess that we got our meal for free because the staff just didn’t know what to do!) I’m choosing to mark my grief with something I know Scott would love and in a way that feels positive. I hope that everyone else does the same.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that grief comes in so many forms. There is not one way to deal with it. There is no wrong way either. I would love it for us all to be better humans, to be closer friends, to live our best lives, but if we don’t…that’s ok too.
And Tart, if you are reading this, one day, I’m going to come to Speedo Sunday!
Scott. I miss you. I love you. My American boy.