I really wanted to keep things upbeat on my return, but I can’t not mention this.
As I was going through the laborious task of unpacking today, listening to some tunes as I moved one box from one place to another, one song came on which reminded me of Llŷr. Not for any particular moment we had shared, but because when I posted it here, he sent me a text telling me how much he liked the tune in question, and we had a chat about it, via text.
So I went to my phone, hoping to read that conversation, only to find it only holds text chats back to a certain date: before that nothing.
And so I’ve lost that one last connection I had with my best friend.
Cheers for that, Apple.
Maybe it was on WhatsApp, I thought, and so I checked there, only to be greeted with lots of group messages which he had been part of, all ending with the words “Llŷr has left the conversation”.
And I realised that with death, so comes admin. I know that, because he wasn’t capable of responding, Llŷr’s parents had control of his phone for those last few months, but it had never occurred to me that they had to go through everything, shutting it down for the last time. Jesus, that must have been tough for them.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that I cried when I realised I had lost that last evidence of us, that final conversation never to be added to, but also about that which I had never considered before, the minutae of bereavement, the stuff that has to be done.
And so here I am, almost eleven months since he died, not doing what I should be, but weeping.
I knew grief was tough, but I didn’t realise just how tough, how never-fucking-ending it seems to be.
I don’t want to forget, I won’t forget, but sometimes remembering hurts.
Update: since I posted this, I’ve learned that this deletion of history, this wiping of memory, is ‘what happens’. And it’s outrageous that – having been coerced and manipulated into a world where we communicate via the written word, text, email, Whatsapp, whatever – the last thread we have of people, that last interaction we cling on to, the thing we can look back on and remember and cherish, can just be deleted without thought, because an algorithm says so…well, my friends, that’s fucked up and I hope you never find yourself where we are now.
Who are these people who think they can dictate to me when I should stop grieving, at what point I should stop remembering deceased friends? Whoever they are, fuck ’em. I’m still sad, but now I’m sad and angry.
Anyway (deep breaths): by way of a complete counterpoint to all I have just written, a relentlessly upbeat song that he loved, that we loved, despite (or, more probably, because of) its perceived cheesiness.
The last time I heard this being played in a public arena was at a friend’s wedding; we didn’t dance, but Llŷr and I did sit together and sing along.
It makes me smile when I hear it, because I remember. And I always will.
Miss you, dude.