Life, according to the philosopher Ronan Keating, is a rollercoaster. Today has been like a rollercoaster with no safety bar. I woke up feeling low, fuzzy and with the same dull headache that seems to have hung around for months. However, I had some positive things to look forward to, first, the video for the Radio Sheffield Common People going live at 8 a.m. then a brunch date with my sister, and then tonight a piano lesson, something which I always look forward to. I saw the video online, although I didn’t get a chance to go to the celebration at the station, but the initial reactions were very positive and I allowed myself a little pat on the shoulder ( the good one, not the knackered one ). I was considering phoning the station to have a chat with Toby, the breakfast show presenter and also one of my best friends.
then a message popped up on my screen, apologies in advance for playing the pronoun game, but out of respect I’m keeping this generic. I learned that a very good friend has passed away, a beautiful soul, robbed from us all by a vile, poisonous disease that tears all of us apart either personally or by association. Now I would have felt this loss keenly regardless, today it left me utterly distraught, and for the next hour I was right back to the lowest point, my whole body aching with sadness and questioning the point of it all. I felt so guilty, how could I be so selfish, what about my friend’s family, their friends, how bereft must they be feeling?
I composed myself eventually, washed my face, and set off to meet my sister. It’s been a while since we have spent any real quality time together and it was nice to catch up, we talked about how I’m doing, how she’s doing, we compared notes on our frustrations with many things, and our battles with depression. She’s a lot stronger than she gives herself credit for and although I felt a great deal of sadness for us both as we talked, when we parted at the end of our brunch, I felt a sense of calm, having had a chance to share with someone who I know has my best interests at heart, even though we often push each others buttons to the point of shouting.
Returning home, back to a few hours of solitude, I returned to the funk of this morning, tempered by time, it felt almost like a numbness spreading through me, and I drifted off into an uneasy doze for an hour. Tonight, it was piano time, I’m a slow learner, but I’m determined, and at some point I will be able to play enough piano to enjoy myself, if not entertain a room full of people. My teacher is my friend Sarah, and while practicing, I told her about the day, and as we drove back from the studio we talked at length about things, she’s a great sounding board, and a true friend, someone I am comfortable with sharing the real stuff with. I was reminded of a passage from a stand up show performed by the late Bill Hicks, one of the greatest comedians I have ever seen, and a huge influence on me. Though this passage has a different context to the rollercoaster that was today, it still feels relevant. if you’ll allow my indulgence, I’ll share a link to it at the end of this post. (spoiler alert, there may be vulgar language and adult themes).
the point is, rollercoaster or not, this is just a ride, and like any ride, it will come to an end, and as long as I can remember that it’s just a ride, I don’t need to be afraid.
Finally, today’s three things to be thankful for:
- I’m thankful for my friend who has passed away, thankful that they were a part of my life, and that I was able to bathe in the beautiful light that they put into the world right to the end, I’m thankful that they passed with loved ones by their side, knowing they were loved.
- I’m thankful for my sister, and my brother, my mum, my dad, my wife Janine, and my friends, their love and support gives me the focus and purpose I need to travel this journey back to health.
- I’m thankful for music, from a young age it has been a source of wonder to me, a friend when nobody else was around, a time machine, and a backdrop to every memory. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to spend over half my life making music, and sharing it with people I love.
In memory of my friend, please support this cause, if you are able:
As Bill says….. It’s Just A Ride.