Death sucks for those left behind to mourn and grieve. That’s nothing new or profound but life has decided to reinforce that to my family.
That is Tony and me in 2012 and I guess no explanation is needed as to where that was taken. That was the last time I saw him. We spoke once or twice since but distance does what it does (he was in Blackpool and I was in Oxford then Slough) He was engaged to my sister and they had 2 girls but split up shortly before this picture was taken. Tony helped me get my door supervisors badge, got me singing karaoke (badly), gave me a sweet jacket and just generally helped me build confidence to express myself that was pretty much non-existent at that point. The funny thing is Tony and I wouldn’t have met or tried to get on if it wasn’t for my sister; but Tony and I had something else in common. We had a trait of just being honest and our friendship really started when I raised some concerns and it went from there (common theme with my friendships).
Last weekend I received a call from my sister to say that Tony was in hospital and that he didn’t have long to live and Tuesday morning the call came in that he had passed away. I didn’t really react except to ask really dumb questions whether everyone was OK. I was work at the time so breaking down wasn’t really an option. But this isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with something like this and I almost have a default routine; go home, put some music on (or do some DJ’ing when I had decks) put the XBox on and drink. “Bury it, don’t deal, just bury” is how most people would describe it. It’s my grieving process, it’s what works for me in the aftermath and I need different things at different times. The tears sometimes come later and this has been no exception.
Last night was darts and I was determined to go. My mind wasn’t there and I know if my mind isn’t there then I don’t play well, but I felt I wanted play because when I went to visit Tony and my sister we would play darts. It went as expected, I wasn’t really in a state to play. I was atrocious and when I finally lost, I finally cracked. Yes I cried. Wasn’t much, wasn’t for long, but I cried. Fortunately the team were great and understood and even though they were the usual cliches and I hid in the toilet for my tears, one of the guys followed me in to see if I needed to talk. But I played to honor Tony somehow, would have been nice to get the win to top it off. This is part of my grieving process and right now, everyone is going through theirs.
I’m sure I’m going to go through a mixer again at the funeral, and my sister has to be stronger at the moment because of the girls. For now I just have the emotions out and my wife, my XBox, listening to the Halo soundtrack on repeat and even this blog you are reading now are part of my grieving process, but I can’t say I’ve had the profound “life is too short to take certain things too seriously” moment. I do take things seriously, that’s part of who and how I am and I apologize to no one for it. That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve gained from my time with Tony.
The guy wasn’t perfect but we had good times and he helped me in more ways than I probably realize. R.I.P mate, keep the oche free for when I get up there and have a pint ready.