An old school friend passed away earlier this week. It was sudden and it was a shock, he was a 35 years old and it is an Incredibly hard thing to process. Today would have been his 36th birthday.
He was by no means my best friend but I would always class him as a friend, no matter how many years passed between seeing him, he was infectious in that way. People were drawn to him because of his lovely nature, his ability to put you at ease and his general likability. He had a real talent for bringing people together and every night out that I look back on with him he was always smiling, chatting and having a good time. Over the years like so many others, you drift, you don’t see people as regularly as you did at school, college and uni. Your social life becomes snatches of time you have to steal to sit alongside your busy lifestyle of work, kids and basic adulting. It is sad that this happens but it is an inevitable part of life.
The last time I saw my friend was randomly at a house he was working at. I had gone over to one of my friends houses for a play date with our kids. As I was stood in her kitchen I heard a very familiar voice say ‘hello Sam’ – I recognised his voice instantly and there was genuine pleasure from both of us at this random encounter. We must have spent a good half an hour chatting – my 6 month old left discarded with my lovely mummy friend to go and have a cuddle with. He was one of those people that even if you hadn’t spoken for years, it never felt like it, it was always easy. He asked over my family was amazed that I now had 3 kids and was living back this way, because I think the last time we saw each other I only had 1 and was living in Brighton. He asked over my other half and his family, who he had spent a lot of time with growing up, he loved their family so much, as they did him too.
We left that day saying how we really should all meet up and how it had been too long and I know both of us meant it in that moment, but we never did follow it up, always I’m sure assuming that there was plenty of time to get something in the diary. This was over a year ago and Monday I found out he had died suddenly. It is heartbreaking that I won’t be able to act on that last encounter, but I am so grateful that we had that random meeting because it was genuinely lovely to catch up, however briefly, because my memories of him will always be that he had remained the same kind hearted and courteous boy that I met all those years ago at school.
2020 is shaping up to be one of the hardest years mentally for so many of us and the lessons that I am learning everyday is not to take people for granted, to reach out, to interact. I want 2021 to be different, I want it to be better. I want to see my friends and make that extra effort to get out and socialise even if I’m knackered after looking after kids and working. Keeping important friendships like the one I now mourn takes a little effort but it is minimal for the happiness that you get from it. One day soon I hope we all get the chance to gather together and celebrate his short but impactful life, because all I see is a massive outpouring of love to a remarkably fantastic guy who always made time for you.
Rest easy my friend it was an honour to have known you.