It’s funny when you say someone has died. But. In fact it’s anything but funny. It’s tragic and awful but not for the person that has died. They have gone to that blissful place we know nothing about and that is scary. We do not embrace and accept death in this country as some nations and religions do. It’s a daunting thing that we don’t acknowledge but the only thing in life, and it’s the one certainty in life regardless of what else happens, that we will die. There is no escape. Some people live for a day and some live for 100 years. There is no rhyme or reason why. It just is.
So today another death. Of a truly remarkable 19 year old who I met last October and shared a stage with. We both talked about our stories but you couldn’t get much different. Today his story ended and mine continues. And the whole nation knows about him. And only a few know about me.
It’s not fair.
Why am I alive.
Why am I allowed to whinge.
What have I got to complain about.
Where is my recognition.
So much. Everything. Nothing.
What about the rest of us? Those that slipped away with only those around them knowing. Those of us who carry on every day but with a silent burden.
I’m listening to the playlist I made when I did the London Marathon in 2012 for the Teenage Cancer Trust of course. Who else? A charity I love so much, feel so possessive about, that does so much and that I was denied treatment with because there wasn’t a unit in Edinburgh in 2007. There is now. A small charity no one really knew about, and now... I know I wrote about this last time, it’s all still so raw. Why does one person get catapulted into ‘stardom’? Because they are going to die. Imminently at 19. I was on my gap year at this point I was away in Australia or Thailand being 19, not dying, not taking my last breath. And yet…what about me?
There is so much in my head but I don’t know how to get it out. How can I when I sound like an enampathietic and selfish person? I can’t begin to imagine how Stephen’s family feel today. I have no concept of what it is like to lose a child, a sibling… I don’t know if he had brothers or sisters. I can’t imagine what it would be like to say goodbye to Claudia or Milo. I can’t.
I feel exhausted. I am exhausted. And confused, well conflicted, and because of that feel like a bad person who cannot simply rejoice in what Stephen accomplished and it how full his life was, especially in the last four years since his diagnosis. I feel angry. Angry at myself. Angry at my diagnosis. Angry that I didn’t have TCT when I was diagnosed. Angry that I still have to take these drugs which dictate my life. Angry that my life is not fully mine. Angry at consultants and angry because I am not recognised at a national level which is, I know, completely stupid.
I know I need to do a lot of self-work, I just need to get through these next 8 weeks and finish my degree and get all my work done. Then I can give myself the space to acknowledge and process and heal and forgive. Because I have to. I can’t carry on feeling like this.
Maybe that’s why I met Stephen, why he came into my life. To teach me that I still have so much to do to help me and I need to. Maybe once I have forgiven and let go of all the anger I can finally fully heal.
I don’t know.
All I can do is hope…