Making light of grief
Dealing with loss and grief is part of life, right? As a child I lost my Granddad and Grandma, and in my early thirties my Dad passed away. These were life-changing, immensely saddening life events. They were expected though. Not in the sense that they had been ill or were incredibly old, but just that you expect to bury the generations above you.
You never expect to say goodbye to your childhood friends; they are part of who you are, they are the same as you. Only three people from my school days have died. All were male. All were under 40. All completed suicide. Two had been my closest friends growing up.
This loss - one of people I cared deeply for but had not actively sought out and spent physical, offline time around for many years - impacted me in a much stronger and more profound way than I could ever have imagined. For one thing, I hadn't imagined it.
As I'm sure most people do in the face of tragedy, we discussed memories and these were all full of laughter and antics and cringing. Humour was a massive part of who we were, and who they are still, and I am of the belief that humour can get across a message that is always (understandably) serious. I think it's worth trying.
I wrote the first novel as three main things: 1) it is a tribute to Lee and Jamie, who we lost between December 2018 and May 2019, 2) it is a chance to get people thinking about talking and opening up, 3) it is funny. Whether you are happy or sad, we need more laughter. As a father of three kids I do everything in my power to keep them laughing and enjoying every second...at what point do we stop doing that for each other? We shouldn't.
It is not loss that I want to make light of, or anything in fact. I want to make a bigger point through humour, rather than use silliness to dilute the importance and impact of grief.
The idea of a blog seems a bit fancy to me, a bit full of myself, but I'm going to use this as a place to talk about grief and laughter, about suicide prevention and mental health, about the feelings we have and don't necessarily discuss, and about how much I love my friends, because I'm a fat, tattooed, blokey bloke who can say that.