Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Jamibu: One Year On

Today is the first anniversary of the death of my friend Jamibu.

I wrote some words at the time, and lamented the fact I couldn’t seem to find any that were appropriate. It’s been a year, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. The words don’t come any easier, it’s no easier to think about him and the tears are just as likely to fall now as they were a year ago. The pain is still just as keen. I honestly have no idea how his family are feeling; I lost my friend, but they lost a brother, a son. All I can say is my thoughts are with them.

Today feels poignant; we have come to the end of all the firsts. First birthday, first Christmas, that sort of thing. After today, everything will be seconds, and those seconds will become thirds. I think this is the point at which its supposed to get easier. I don’t think it ever will.

It’s funny, the things that have caused me to think of him, the things that have hurt most. Watching Doctor Who without him, without being able to discuss it afterwards. Feeling sad when I think about how much he would have loved the Avengers movie. When I listen to a song by one of the bands we saw together. When I got a new phone, my first instinct was to ask Jamibu what he thought, but I couldn’t. I miss his puns. They were utterly awful, but I miss them, and other people making puns can make me sad.

These things may seem trivial. But that’s how people get woven into our lives; a million and one mundane things. One day you realise that you have so many silly little things shared with this person that they are a part of you. And Jamibu was a part of me, and a part of me died when he did. But if Jamibu was a part of me, then I was a part of him too, and as such he lives on. He was part of so many people’s lives that in many ways he is still with us. Instead of having our real and proper Jamibu, we have a sort of crowdsourced Jamibu, made up of the memories and emotions of a hundred people. As long as we remember him, he will remain. As long as it hurts, we can’t forget.

My friend John has expressed a worry that if the pain of loss ever goes away he will forget Jamibu. Myself, I’m not worried about forgetting him; I had his name etched onto my skin for a reason. But I am glad to have so many photos, particularly on Facebook. It gives me a way to remember. If I find myself forgetting his smile I can always find a photo. There are things I have already forgotten about him, and things I have yet to forget. But no matter how much I forget, he will never completely leave me. My life was irrevocably changed by both the life and death of this man. And that matters, that will always matter.

I think about him often. I wonder what he would have thought about this tv show or that book. I wonder what he would have thought about my stupid new hair. Would he have had any advice for me as I bumble through my PhD? I feel guilty whenever I struggle with my research; he kept going through all his illness, with barely a tenth of the complaining I've done. And for those who didn’t know, he did get his PhD in the end. Jamibu graduated in December; Dr Bullock. I spent much of that day in tears.

Far too soon we will mark the second anniversary of his death, and then the third and so on. At some point he will have been gone longer than I knew him in the first place. But I will always remember him. I may never have the words to express how I feel, or what he still means to me, at least not coherently. But I will keep him in my thoughts and in my heart.

Rest in awesome Jamibu.

Dr James Bullock, and someone who wants to be half the person he was.

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