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  • Writer's pictureIndy Goodwin

Bury A Friend - Grief or something like it

Updated: Apr 29

For those of you who don't know me in real life, a former partner of mine died suddenly recently. TW: death, grief, regrets and all assorted paraphenalia. The photographs within are of the person I lost.

No one ever said saying goodbye would be easy. It is doubly so when it is unexpected. My former partner died at the age of 35. To say it knocked the wind out of my sails seems like an understatement.

They and I hadn't had the best relationship following our break up and my subsequent hospitalisation (not their fault). There had been many attempts to re-establish contact which inevitibly lead to me catching feelings again like an idiot. In the end, I distanced myself to protect my heart.

The reasoning was sound, and I'm sure they largely forgot about me. Although we'd had a three year relationship, it ended in 2013 and much time has passed since then. I thought of them and our time together fondly from time to time but that is as far as it went.

Until last week. My awareness came from such an unlikely source, a group chat containing mutual friends told me they had passed. Their social media was locked to anyone not a friend and so I had to ask one of my closest friends if it was true. My hands shook as I typed. When she tearfully confirmed it was I felt like I had stepped into a bubble.

The usual questions came to mind. How, when, why. It didn't answer anything though. The knowledge of the facts wouldn't change the fact that someone I once loved with all of my heart was gone. I'd never get to mend those fences, douse the flames on the burnt bridges.

They're gone, and I didn't muster the courage to say "I'm sorry" and "I'd like to be friends" in time. The last words I said to them would have been spoken in anger. No matter how much I rationalise it, knowing what I know now, I should have made the effort.

I guess I'm grieving not knowing the person they had come to be. I know I've done nothing but change over the years, especially with my autism diagnosis. I would have liked to have known who they were, how things had changed for them. What triumphs and tribulations had they faced? Did they still have a weakness for off-brand jaffa cakes?

Instead, I'm alone with my thoughts, feeling like I don't have the right to grieve their death because I didn't know them. Not anymore. People change a lot in 11 years. We were so young when we were together, barely adults. The love I felt for them though could not be denied.

The late night kitchen cuddles and chats at University. Sonisphere Music Festival. Their graduation. My graduation. Having a home together. Teaching me to play SimCity. Holding my hand as we crossed the road (one of my many anxieties). Playing games together. Role-playing in a campaign with friends in Livingston. Dinner at that lovely Italian restaurant with your family that accepted me as one of their own so readily.

All these memories, this glow as I remember everything I loved about you is all I have left now. I know there's no guarantee that we would have been able to have a friendship had I reached out but I find myself trapped by 'what ifs'. I have to accept they're gone, and worrying about what I could have done is useless.

Until then, all I can say is this. I love you. I miss you. I hope you're at peace now.

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1 Comment

Myra Smith
Myra Smith
Apr 03

It's strange to mourn an ex, isn't it? People seem to think if you're sad you must still have had a thing for them, but it's not that at all. It's that huge yawning chasm of time you shared with them, always carried by the both of you, but now only your half remains. It's so unsettling to be the only witness left to the intense glow of those memories. How utterly bewildering to suddenly shoulder such a shared experience alone.

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