Today a year ago, I lost a friend.
Adam was the youngest of my course mates at university. A year ago, he passed away, a young man in his prime. I still don’t know what actually caused his death.
What I do know is that, when news of his passing broke to the group, there was an outpouring of love. It moved me to see how this kid had touched the lives of so many. He was well-liked, as anyone with an Adam-anecdote to share will tell you.
Initial plans were hatched to create a memorial magazine for people who wanted to share what Adam meant to them. I was volunteered as editor, mainly because I do have the software needed. However, responses were abysmal, and some of Adam’s friends tried to prevent others of the group sharing their stories because “Adam wouldn’t have cared about them.” But everybody deals with grief differently, and I would never tell someone they weren’t allowed to grief or share their memories, just because it would piss someone off.
I came under attack as well, from the same people. Cultural differences were glaringly obvious. I come from a place where “life goes on.” You mourn, but you move on. You celebrate the life of the deceased, you share stories far and wide, at the wake and beyond. The memorial magazine was meant to be a written version of those anecdotes that are revealed at wakes. Everyone’s favourite memories. I was accused of profiteering from a “vanity project” (it would have been for free, and I was the only one with layout software) and basically “not grieving right/enough, and not giving it time” and Adam’s “real friends” (read: him) didn’t like the idea. Everybody grieves differently. So I kindly told that person to shove it, and explained that just because my culture deals with death differently, doesn’t mean I’m not mourning a friend.
It’s not a competition.
Two days ago was the fifth anniversary of my graduation. Adam dropped out halfway through our final year. Moving away, we lost touch a bit. But whether we spoke or not in the time leading up to his passing, I considered him a friend to the end. I have no idea whether the same was true for him, but I like to think it was.
Here’s what I wrote about him a year ago: Continue reading In Memoriam: Adam – one year on