Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Suicide.

This is not the post that I had planned for today. This is not the laughing, happy post, filled with smiling faces that I was intending to publish. When I awoke this morning, I checked Twitter, like I always do. It told me that today was World Suicide Prevention Day. I tried to forget it. But it's too important. Their message is too big to hide it away. I'm not sure I've ever even shared this story properly with my Husband.  I've always found it easier to write something difficult, rather than speak the words out loud.

This is the story of Fraser. My lost friend.

Many people said that you either loved Fraser or you hated him. He was loud, brash and always ready to party. He'd be shouting his catchphrase "It's all good!" across the room at you if he saw you lingering around the edges, reluctant to join in. Then he'd insist that you drank tequila. Protesting that you hated the stuff would make no difference. You WOULD have fun. The phrase "life and soul" was invented for Fraser. 

He had another side too. One he rarely let out. His younger sister had been killed in a car accident some years before. He couldn't talk about it. We left it. It destroyed his poor Mum, and I know it broke his heart. Her funeral broke mine. I hated seeing him there, falling apart, but still trying to make sure everyone else was ok. I wanted to grab him, tell him to just stop.

I'd known Fraser since school. In Sixth Form we bonded over music. We'd travel to gigs together. I'd drive, he'd act as bodyguard to quell my parents fears of dark lonely streets. I'd pick him up in my Metro, with a stereo on the backseat and we'd turn it up and shout conversation at one another over the music. I saw my first gig with Fraser. Elastica at the Corn Exchange, somewhere in the early 90's. Right at the front, in the crush of the crowd, my watch strap broke. Foolishly, not knowing "the rules" I bent down to find it and couldn't get back up. People were woven together like a net, I felt panicked, claustrophobic, fearful, no one could hear me shouting over the rush and noise of the music. Then I felt Fraser's arms lift me (he was never a small chap, even then he was an imposing figure) he pulled me up towards the lights. Pushing right to the front barrier he plonked me down and stood behind me with his arms either side of me, holding onto the bars at the front, forming my own little pocket of safe space. 

2006. The last really hot summer I remember prior to this. I was 29. The relationship I'd been in for eleven years was coming to an end. My ex was in a band. We'd travelled to a slightly bigger town, slightly further away than normal to watch them play. It was Fraser's town. I'm not sure who let him know about the gig, probably Noir, but he turned up with a big group of his local mates to show support. 

I'd not seen him for a while, but somehow I didn't want to tell him about Noir and I parting. I didn't want to spoil his night. I knew he'd be concerned, want to make sure I was ok. Another time I thought. Only that was the last time I saw him.

He was wearing one of his trademark loud shirts and I remember smiling at him whilst he danced like a loon. We left, I hugged him, promised we'd catch up. In Tesco's car park on the journey home someone had a voicemail message from him. He'd loved the band so much he'd arranged a gig for the lads at The Monkey the next month. What a great guy. Everyone said it. A great guy. 

The following month I'd moved back to my parent's house. It was a Tuesday, my day off from work and I was sat on my bed when my phone rang. It was Sarah. It's a cliche, but I think part of me knew what had happened as soon as I saw that screen. 

A serious voice, "Had I heard about Fraser?" I answered "What's the old goat done now?"  Hoping against hope that he'd just buggered his knee again playing crazy sports. No. He'd driven to a bridge.  Walked to the middle and jumped. A dog walker found him. There was no doubt. He'd sorted out his life insurance to make sure his Mum would be alright. In financial terms at least. I remember saying no. Not accepting, not listening. The brave, stupid fool.

His funeral was just awful. We stood, in the same place his sister had been before him. His poor Mum was understandably heartbroken. 

I never found out "why" he chose to end his life. There were rumours. Gossip. Nasty little tales that I refused then, and now, to believe. 

Of course in the wake of something like that everyone is left with questions. Most of mine remain unanswered.

I just wish I'd questioned him more. Told him how much he meant. Told him I'd always be there. Always have his back like he always had mine. Made him listen. 

There are so many things that I would change, if I could.  But not one thing that I actually can change.  I feel as though I should have realised, should have thought more.  No one is happy all the time, of course he had times when all he felt was the opposite of what he showed.  Instead of being self obsessed and young and stupid I should have been there.  I should have been there.

I have no photographs of him.  I gave them all to his mother, so she could remember him.  So she would know what a good friend he was.

I still miss him. I still remember him. Fiercely and proudly.

If nothing else, in life, and in death, he taught me to enjoy the moment, to question everything and live for today.

More information can be found about World Suicide Prevention Day here.

Love,






20 comments:

  1. Oh Kate. I'm so so sorry for your loss. I'm trying to think of the right words but don't really have any. Just sending you some love xx

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    1. That's really lovely of you Aanie, thank you.

      Linking up tomorrow instead, hope that's ok xx

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  2. I am so sorry for your and the world's loss. Especially his poor mom, I cannot even imagine how devastating that must be for her and his family. I don't have a story like this, but one about drunk driving that took a friend in high school. Young lives cut short is always the worst sort of tragedy. Big hug for you and thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Lindsey, you are lovely xxx It's one of those sad things about getting older isn't it, that we lose friends along the way.

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  3. What a lovely guy he sounded like and it's such a shame that things like this happen to people so young, I'm so sorry that you've lost such a great friend. I've known someone who had also at the age of 19. It's great you have amazing memories of him. Keep them alive and never forget. x

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    1. Thank you lovely, I really appreciate your comment xx

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  4. This is a really nice tribute for your friend, and it was nice that you shared so much of his life with us.

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    1. Thank you Abby, that's very kind of you x

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  5. Aw kate I'm so sorry for your loss. Just want to send you some huge hugs and much love xxxx

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  6. A hard post to comment on but one I wanted to comment on nevertheless. A lovely post for what sounds like a lovely guy. Very touching xx

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    1. Thank you Bel, you're right, not an easy subject to comment in at all, but I really do appreciate you doing so xx

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  7. I love that you call him brave and stupid. I just do.

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    1. I know it seems bizarre to call him that. I realise that people who've taken their own lives are often called cowards by those who remain. But to me, he was brave. I couldn't stand on top of a bridge so high and have to the courage to jump. He knew his mind and he followed through. Brave, for that second. But without doubt stupid too.

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  8. Oh Kate, this post is a lovely and touching tribute to Fraser's memory. He sounds like he was a wonderful person to have known.

    Suicide is such a hard, horrible horrible thing to deal with. It leaves the ones left behind with so many questions. I had a family member commit suicide and as horrid as it sounds I can't help but feel so much anger about it. I know I should feel sympathy and sadness.

    Its such a confusing, horrible thing.

    I hope Fraser's mother has been able to find a way to live day to day, what a huge amount of loss in such horrible ways for one person to experience :(

    Hayley
    Sparkles & Stretchmarks
    xxx

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    1. I can completely understand feeling anger. I was angry too after it happened, but over the years that's gone. I think if I had the chance to talk to him now I'd still shout at him! I'm sorry you had to feel these things too Hayley, I really am. Thank you so much for your comment and your I understanding x

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  9. Oh Kate. This is such a beautiful, moving post. Fraser sounds like one of those rare folk who could genuinely light up a room without even trying. A friend took their own life when we were about 15, and the ache never truly goes away. I know it's natural to try and blame oneself, and look for reasons, or ways we could have prevented it. But that's just to make *us* feel better. The worst part is in the not knowing. This is a difficult but lovely post, and good on you for writing it. I had no idea about suicide prevention day! Sending you so much love my allotment queen xxx

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    1. Oh Kirsty, thank you for this lovely comment. Of course, you're right feeling that way is to make ourselves feel better. It's almost ridiculous really. I'm so sorry that you have lost a friend too. I'm sorry that you understand exactly the way I feel, and yet I'm so grateful that you do.

      And I LOVE the idea of being an allotment queen! :) xx

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  10. Sigh. So sad & isolating, suicide. Just tragic, and I add my condolences and sympathy to that of the other commentators. Hugs from across the pond.

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  11. What a beautiful, but of course terriblly sad post. You wrote so wonderfully about Fraser, your words are filled with warmth and love. I can't think of a better way to honor your friendship, and a man who sounds like a one-off gem. I hope you are holding up.

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