It’s been three years. Three years since you left us and, hopefully, moved on to a better place. Three years since that morning Dad and Dan came in to wake me up and tell me you were gone. Just over three years since we had our last conversation and I told you I loved you for the last time.
It breaks my heart to type those sentences. It still doesn’t feel entirely real. How have 3 years already passed by yet it still feel so raw, as if it only just happened? How can it already have been 3 years since I last saw you?
We all miss you like crazy. Truth is none of us have gotten any better at talking about what happened. I occasionally write about it, Dan doesn’t talk about it much, and dad finds it too hard to as well.
So much has happened the past three years. I wish you’d been there to see it all. I graduated from university, the one thing you wanted me to truly chase and go for. Truth be told I hated my graduation. The barber sabotaged me and I spent the day sweating like hell. Plus my graduation photo is the definition of horrific (picture Sloth from Goonies but wearing a cap and gown).
But it would have all been worth it to see the smile on your face as I collected my degree. That same, beautiful smile I saw the day I collected my A-Level results and told you and dad I’d changed my mind and wanted to go to university and not take a gap year.
Dan finished his A-levels and left for university too. He’s already in his final year! I still remember when he turned around and told us he was going to university to do drama and we were all surprised at his decision. I know you were worried about him but so far he’s smashing it and doing you proud. The boy even managed to find himself a girlfriend! You’d love her, and no doubt she’d have loved you too. His older brother however has had no such luck! I know you always said I was a handsome guy and deserved a great girl but so far that hasn’t happened. It’s a travesty. He turns 21 tomorrow can you believe that? The boy’s all grown up. You’d be so proud of him.
Dad’s doing well; he continues to be the absolute rock he was during your illness but I know deep down it still kills him. I don’t think he’ll ever really be ready to truly talk about it and I don’t blame him truth be told. Today’s not a day he really likes to acknowledge, but it’s one he can never forget. It still kills all of us but we’re gonna do what we do best: keep going.
Hollie and Dan finally tied the knot too! The weather may not have been great but it was such a nice day; Hollie looked absolutely beautiful and Dan scrubbed up fairly well too! I know you’d have loved nothing more than to be there, and she’d have loved to have you there too.
The kid’s are all growing up so fast too! Don’t get me wrong; they’re still the loveable rat bags they always were but taller and older now. Finley’s developed quite a singing voice too. No doubt you’d have loved watching him belt out Bohemian Rhapsody at Hollie and Dan’s wedding – the boy stole the show!
I swanned off to Nepal and Thailand, and more recently Amsterdam (where I did nothing but visit museums). The views in Nepal and Thailand were unreal. I wish I could show you all the photos I took and tell you about it all. I went and got a job too! Took me long enough and 15 odd interviews with jobs I had no interest in but I finally found a job that I love. I wish you had been there at Nan’s that day when I got the job. Everyone was so happy, myself included, but it wasn’t the same without you being there to hear it. I wish you had been. Three years of law (that you encouraged and motivated me to do) paid off and it kills me I didn’t get to celebrate it with you there by my side.
I’m finally growing a beard too. Well, trying to. It’s a work in progress but I’ll finally achieve my goal of having a beard one day. I know you used to take the piss out of my sideburns when I first started growing facial hair but it’s finally starting to spread out and means I look less like Abraham Lincoln. Maybe that’ll be the key to finding the good girl you were adamant I deserved to be with!
I still have dark thoughts. They’re not as frequent as they were when you first passed but they’re still there. I’m gradually coming to terms with them but it’s a struggle. I still picture the day you died and your funeral. I don’t think I’ll ever forget those two days. Truth be told I still picture my own death. Not me taking my own life, just me dying. I wish I could tell you why I do, but truth be told I don’t have an answer. I don’t know if it’s because some part of me thinks it’ll mean I’m with you or just my warped sense of thinking but the thoughts are there. I still haven’t made my peace with losing you. I try and tell myself I have. I try and be this peaceful person who’s made his peace with what happened but I haven’t. I’m still angry. I’m still broken. Why did it have to be you? You didn’t deserve any of this, none of us did. No one does yet it happened, and it happened to you.
We all miss you so much. Three years later and it still feels kinda surreal that it’s been that long since you left us. I tried to convince myself after you’d gone that I’d made the most of those final years with you. Truth be told, I don’t think I did. There’s so much about it I’d change. I wish I’d spent more time with you. I know you wanted us to carry on as normal but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have spent more time with you. I wish I’d taken more photos with you. Someone told me I should so I had something to look back on and remember the better times when you were gone. At the time I said I would, but I never did. I was never good at photos anyway as you’re well aware and I let my own insecurities get the better of me but I wish I’d forced myself to just do it. I hate how few photos I have with you. One of the last photos I have of us is from Hollies’ birthday where I look like what I can only describe as someone who had just taken a shit load of drugs. Surprised I didn’t chew through my lower jaw the way it looks like I’m gurning in the picture.
I was ignorant/scared to truly face what you were going through and instead threw myself into anything else in a bid to do what you wanted us to do: be normal. But it wasn’t normal though. Not really. Nothing about what you went through was normal. I spent over 2 years watching you slowly die and it killed me every day. It still does. Truth be told I think me trying to act normal came back to haunt me. I knew the day was coming but I never truly prepared myself for it. Maybe if I’d spent more time with you and done more with you I’d have been in a better position to say goodbye and be at peace with you finally passing. But I didn’t, and I haven’t made my peace with it. I’m not sure I ever will. How can I? You were my best friend, and more importantly: my mum. I shouldn’t have had to fucking lose you at 19 years old and you didn’t deserve to die so young.
There aren’t words to describe how much I love and miss you. How much we all love and miss you. You were, and still are, my best friend. I miss you so much. I miss you being there when I get in from university and nights out. I miss being able to talk to you about anything and everything – I don’t think I’ve truly opened up to anyone since you died. I can’t. I also miss disgusting you with my crude jokes (you always tried to hide your laughter but you never could).
I know I fell out of religion as I got older and you became ill but I know you stayed religious and believed in God. I hope that belief was repaid and you truly are in a better place. It’s the least you deserve after all you did for us and all you went through. I’m sure you’re sat up there watching over us with Charlie by your side. He always was your angel, as you’d constantly tell Kevin!
Rest easy, mum.
Three years gone. Forever in our hearts.
I love you.