This post is going to be an odd one. It is way over due, it should have been posted on the 21st of March. On the first day of spring, yet as many of you know, my mother fell suddenly very ill in Mexico that week and it's been a hell of a month since. She's recovering well now, thank God, but the worry filled my days and weeks and the anxiety of being so far away and helpless added to it. So please forgive me for posting this now. It was written then, but life took over...
This day last year I lost my best friend John to suicide. It was a gloriously sunny Wednesday and I should have met him that day, but I had gone home with a bad headache so did not think strange that he hadn't texted to arrange. We used to meet on Wednesdays for lunch or for a cuppa after work. He did not ring that day, instead he drove to Howth and walked into the sea. I will never forget the phone call that evening, driving to the hospital where he had been taken after someone alerted the authorities. Walking into A&E just to discovered that there are places, small chapel like rooms, where bodies are kept for a few hours for people to say their good byes. He was laying there, sleep like, still him but not there any more. His wife was distraught, we were all distraught.
And every Wednesday since I yearn for time to go back, every Wednesday I wish I could know then what I know now. Every Wednesday that passes by I feel angry with myself for not having noticed, for not being there. I miss him. A year on and I still think of all those wonderful years he was in my life, a dear friend, a brother, a rock. We used to share countless cups of tea and the odd glass of wine in my kitchen, he loved my baking and my taste for cheese. He always managed to get me exactly what I didn't want for Christmas and he never missed my birthday (which most my friends always do as it is too close to Christmas Day). I don't have one single photo of the two of us together, he was always the one taking all the cameras and snapping all the photos. Avid reader, green fingered, politics mad, a true environmentalist and a great listener. A man so unglamorous that despite being financially comfortable, he wore runners with a hole on them for at least a year! He had a gift with people, he was trusted and trustworthy.
And it has taken me a long time to come to terms with the loss and the huge waste of a beautiful life; it has taken a lot to deal with the terrible guilt and the what ifs that lingered for weeks and months after he was gone. He was my best friend and for weeks I would jump at the sound of the house bell in the evenings: 'It must be John' - I would think, only to walk two steps towards the door and realising it couldn't be him. He was dead.
A native of Co. Donegal, he always told me not to go to his village unless it was summer time; sadly I finally made it to his part of Ireland and I made it there in the spring time. A month after his funeral I walked the streets of this little village tucked away in a busy fishing bay. He rests facing the sea. He chose the sea to go, feels right that he rests there... and every Wednesday I say a little prayer, every Wednesday I remind myself that wherever he is, he is at peace... and so Wednesday is gone and hope springs again, as I say good bye to a dearest and beloved friend.