In my next blog post I will go back to just swearing about things.

23 Dec

Originally posted at Three Blog Night.

My friend Tom wrote about mortality and the fleeting, fragile nature of human life in his first blog post last week because he likes to make really positive first impressions. It’s something that we used to talk about quite a lot when we were at sixth form together because we are both miserable old bastards. I mean, seriously. At 17 years of age we were both all, “OH GOD IT’S ALL GOING SO FAST MOST OF MY LIFE IS ALREADY OVER I’M NOT READY TO BE OLD YET.” How sickening is that? Now that I’m 20 and so genuinely can say that I’m really really old, it’s pretty offensive to think that a young person can claim to be. I guess sometimes people just don’t realise how ridiculous they sound.

Unexpectedly, though, over the last few days I’ve spent a significant amount of time thinking about this. The thing that Tom wrote about. If you follow me on twitter, you might know that my brothers’ dad died last Friday. I shan’t write about the loss specifically, because it’s an intensely personal thing and I prefer not to make the stuff that I put up here too personal, except to say that I didn’t know him particularly well, and that this is something that I regret and that I imagine I will regret increasingly as the shock wears off, but that I did know him, and I’m deeply saddened by his passing and by the profound effect that this has clearly had upon those that I’m close to, and that what happened on Friday hasn’t really sunk in yet.

When I was really little, I sort of thought that parents were these wise, all-knowing, indestructible entities that would be around forever. Just look at Bruce Forsyth. He’s a parent, and he’s never not existed. But as I got a bit older I started to realise that actually parents were, like, human. And wouldn’t be around forever. It’s a weird thing for a kid to realise, but I managed to take quite a lot of consolation in the understanding that I’d probably be a grown-up by the time I did eventually lose my mum, so I’d be okay because grown-ups don’t get upset about stuff. Because they’re grown-ups. I was terrible at spotting logical fallacies when I was 9 years old.

And now… well, I don’t feel like a grown-up yet. I’ve never even had a proper job. But I’m 20 now and I can see that it probably isn’t going to get any easier. My brothers are both in their thirties, and whilst the fact that it’s not a position in my life that’s ever been occupied means that I don’t imagine I’ll ever truly be able to appreciate what it must be like to lose a father, I can see how painful, difficult and overwhelming it is for them. The death of a parent must be an unfathomably awful thing to go through, irrespective of your age. The death of anyone is, of course. But I think that with a parent it’s almost like you’re losing a part of your past, or of yourself, because that person has played such an enormous role in shaping who you are. They’ve always been there. You lose a carer and a friend and a guide. And it’s frightening. My brothers’ loss was tragic and unexpected and cruelly premature and I hate that there’s nothing that I can do. We can hope and wish that the loss of a parent isn’t going to happen, or that it won’t happen in the foreseeable future, but it is completely out of our power. That inevitability of and powerlessness over death is one of the most fundamental things that I should ever need to accept and understand, and yet I’ve found it one of the hardest because I still have this childlike, optimistic world view that’s entirely at odds with it.

I don’t think that the deaths of people that I care about will become any easier to deal with as I get older. They’ll just become more frequent. Perhaps I’ll become steadily more cynical as a result. I hope that doesn’t happen, but I suppose everyone becomes more cynical as they get older. All I can really do is make the most of the time that I have with people, and of the fact that I’m still hopelessly idealistic, because neither of those things are going to last indefinitely. I think that it’s quite easy, when you’re still basically just a kid like I am and like everyone else who writes on this blog is, to forget how finite and delicate life is. Tom has reminders of this almost every day. I had my reminder on Friday.

You see what happens? Matt lets Tom start writing here and then it’s like a massive, fuck-off rain cloud immediately materialises over the whole goddamn blog. You know how sometimes you go to a party and the vibe’s fantastic and everyone’s laughing and talking and having an amazing time and then this guy that everyone hates shows up and shits on the kitchen floor and everyone starts crying? No? That’s because you don’t know Tom.


3 Responses to “In my next blog post I will go back to just swearing about things.”

  1. PaulAtNorthGare December 23, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    This in no way is meant to suggest that there’s a silver lining or bright side to anyone close to you dying, but it’s not always quite as devastating. My dad died a couple of years ago, not especially old, and the very fact that it wasn’t devastating – complicated, yes, and certainly a cause for lots of regret – was a pretty clear sign to me that our relationship just hadn’t gone the way it should have done. My rather patronising point is that, given death is inevitable, in some ways a sense of profound loss is a measure of how meaningful what came before had been. I think the latter is worth the former. Doesn’t make it easier, but the combination is probably to be much preferred over a damaged relationship which disappears with a whimper rather than a bang.

    Anyway, random sympathies.



  1. Tweets that mention In my next blog post I will go back to just swearing about things. « Three Blog Night -- - December 23, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather Stevens. Heather Stevens said: I wrote another thing, but it's all over the place because I couldn't decide how much I was okay with putting online. […]


  2. Not sure whether my mistake was putting all my eggs in one basket or choosing a basket called “The Egg Destroyer” | I have no idea what I'm doing. - November 29, 2015

    […] is by how long it takes me to write about it. It took me 6 days to write about the death of my brothers’ dad in 2010; this one’s been over a year so far, so fingers crossed the zingers are coming soon […]


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