Having that trusted person that you can share absolutely anything to is really important. Crucial, in fact. And when you lose that, there’s a web of lost-ness that we find ourselves wrapped in; unable to find the beginning to peel our way out.
I love talking about important people in my life; sharing how they became important and what their place in my life means to me. I believe all of those people were intentionally sent by God to guide me through life. Everyone needs a shepherd to walk alongside them – only, sometimes Shepherds can only be present for small chunks of the journey. When they’re no longer available, we’re left searching for the next one; unsure if we’re headed in the right direction until we reach our new Shepherd.
I’d love to share some stories about my 2nd favourite person to ever grace my life (my sister is obvs no.1 & my parents tell me they don’t have any favourites, so neither do I).
He was a bangin’ guy – had all the chat, loved me unconditionally, encouraged me at every opportunity, listened intently to everything I ever had to say, said I sang better than Lulu, let me put curlers in his (very) small patch of hair, let me put tattoos of tigers on his arms, let me paint his nails, picked me up from school when I was sick and took me to Christie’s for a sausage roll, let me kick him in the bed when I stayed over, gave me the best sweeties out of the ‘car tin’, danced with me to the Vengaboys and Mambo Number 5, took me to school and picked me up every day for a year, made sure that me and my sister knew the love a grandparent even though we never had that, tickled my feet, held my hand when I wanted him to, hugged me when I needed him to, listened to me playing do-re-mi or the Eastenders theme tune on the keyboard for the millionth time that night, helped me search the Argos and Index catalogues for my Christmas list to Santa, played Frustration every week, let me play Lulu even though he didn’t like her, always had a smile for me, trusted me to go and buy my Aunt Beth’s Christmas present, took me fishing, told me all of his stories about being on various ships, never asked for anything from me, loving the crappy Christmas presents I bought him, phoning me on my birthday to sing happy birthday down the phone, allowing me to be there, being my confidant, being the person I could always rely on, teaching me to appreciate my worth, teaching me that time is precious and letting me be there to hold his hand until the very end.
From the very beginning of my life until the very end of his, he was there. He was mine. And I loved him.
For my sister and I, he was our Grandfather. He might have been called Uncle Jim, but he was so much more than that. It’s been 10 years and I still find it really difficult to express the grief – because that’s what it is. That’s what it is when the person you tell everything to dies. And he always kept my secrets – he would tell my Aunt Beth that I told him things, but never what they were.
Until this year, he was the only person I told that I thought I was gay – and even back then, he didn’t judge or stop loving me. His only hope was that I knew what it was to feel loved.
And my goodness, do I miss him! Just when it feels easier, there’s something – it just comes along and takes the wind out of your sails.
But that’s what happens when you’ve been living life without that person. My hopes are that it’ll become easier – I’ve met someone else that I can tell everything to, she loves me unconditionally and hopefully, one day we’ll have all of those wonderful memories together. For now, I’ll take the memories I have of my favourite guy with me.
But for today, it’s ok. I’m not daft – life has been different for the past 10 years, but I’m thankful for the 16 years I did have. For sure, we packed a lifetime worth of memories into those short years. So much love, laughter and happiness, many kisses, cuddles and singing sessions – and always there. Couldn’t ask for anymore because he gave it all – he gave us all of him, and that’s why the only sad tears we ever have about him is because that stopped. He ensured we all knew love, and we wholeheartedly loved him back – forever and always.
some photos of me, my sister, Aunt Beth and our no.1 guy!