This morning I set out for my walk, one earphone in, prepared to talk to my mum like I do every Saturday morning at that time.
She answered after a few rings, but her normal, upbeat voice wasn’t so happy. Something was wrong.
“Where are you?” she asked me. “Are you close to a seat? I have something to tell you and you might need to sit down. It’s a bit of a shock.”
My heart sank. Something had happened.
I sat down and waited for her to speak again.
Yesterday one of our family friends, a guy I’d grown up with, passed away. He just dropped dead. Yes, just like that. One minute he’d been walking and the next he was gone.
He was 39.
There were no warning signs; nothing at all to indicate that something was wrong. He died from a massive brain bleed.
Another family friend messaged my mum with one word: why?
I think we all wondered the same thing.
It certainly puts things in perspective. Last night I had a small fight with someone I care for very deeply over something that was trivial on my part. How much time do any of us have? Certainly not enough to waste it having stupid fights because we’re scared to say how we really feel and what we really want, even when we know the other person feels the same.
But this post is not about me. It’s about a friend I grew up with, ate chocolate with, drank coffee with, travelled with and laughed with. I remember his love for heavy rock music, his love for all things technical and his incredibly sweet tooth.
I think what makes it even sadder is that his dad passed away just five years ago in a similar situation. He was just one of the many men I was lucky enough to call, ‘Dad.’ Now two of the men I thought of as family, have gone.
I will miss Justin very much and I just wanted to take the time to share the memories I have of him. Today in celebration of his life I am going to drink coffee and eat something deliciously sweet and chocolatey. He would certainly approve.