This subject is so complicated because it comes in degrees and variants. How do we measure loss? As a child, the loss of a goldfish can be devastating yet, as an adult, it’s just a fish. Loss is a personal thing, what may be shrugged off by one is the straw that breaks the camels back for someone else.
As a small child I lost my teddy bear. I was in hospital when I was around 5 and another kid took it home with him, no other teddy would do, that was ‘teddy’ and bedtimes were not the same. Moving on and my life was not too bad. Even as a kid though I had valued toys stolen from me, that hurt as it was always by a relative, a cousin and no one seemed to care, it was always better not to rock the boat, not cause a fuss by mentioning anything so I got used to loss with silence and denial.
I fell in love at 20, I was a late starter. We were together for 2 years and I loved him deeply. When he literally disappeared from my love it was difficult to get over but, I rationalised it that a passion for my own gender was never going to be acceptable anyway.
That winter my parents split but I met someone so, I worked out in my head that things move on. The following summer, just three weeks before my marriage, mum died. I wasn’t close to dad. He was a man and, I am quite sure, in his eyes I wasn’t. My sexuality wasn’t known then I was just unacceptably different. Mum was everything to me and then, without any preparation she was gone. It was all about her mum, my nan, no one really acted like they cared about how I felt, I was made very aware that I was unimportant, that I’d get over it. I was allowed one day off work and took a second paid leave for the funeral. At the funeral I stood alone as my huge family took sides either behind my dad or my mum and I was apart from it all, no one considered I may have needs, I might be hurting. I cried every day for weeks, even years later I still cry. I went, in just a few short months from feeling the embrace and love of a large family to being totally disowned. To this day I have no idea what I did wrong. There is a huge hole in my life needing an explanation I don’t suppose I shall ever get. When others talk about brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, I think about what could have been
Within years I’d discovered two of my children were special needs. This too felt like a loss to me. All the hopes and dreams I had for them evaporated. With Jermaine I never heard him say ‘I love you Dad’. It never happened and never will. I remember a happy chatty little boy and watched him deteriorate over the years to the point where any meaningful communication has gone.
My divorce from Kris, when it happened was a loss on top of a loss. Others may not understand the complex nature of our relationship but the ending of that marriage was a failure to me. I’d made a promise I couldn’t keep and hurt her and others in the process. I’d also fallen in love with Simon who was another casualty of that time. I managed another relationship with Nick which lasted 4 years. By now I was amounting a collection of cancelled futures and, I don’t do well on my own.
Then, Tony died, my best friend, my rock. The man I totally relied on to keep me sane, he was everything I needed in a person. As with mum, at his funeral I was nothing. One person finally realised on the day I had been left out and brought me forward, for that I am so grateful.
This is so difficult to compress, I feel it’s important that it’s out there but, I don’t really have the words to get down these feelings. My chronology is jumping all over the place.
At some point, and he will remember better than me, I had to ask Matt to leave, I can’t even write this without a tear, that was maybe one of the most difficult things I ever did. I love him so much but, I thought if he stayed we’d end up hating each other or he’d end up making some stupid mistake. Living here was holding him back. What feels like the same time in my head and wasn’t was having to place Jermaine into care. As a dad I felt a failure to do what I should have done for my kids, still do no matter how much sense it makes.
Some time after Javis came into our lives and I made him a promise that I’d look after him. He gave me a grandchild through Daisy and though things were difficult, a bond formed between us and I thought I could make his life better, have him as part of this family.
I met Deej and feel in love again … so much so that I did what I thought I’d never allow myself to do, I married him. I invested my entire future in him and was settled into growing old with him but, he cheated on me, it was like a knife through my heart. I tried to get over it but couldn’t. Whilst trying to cope with this I fell stupidly in love with someone else. I kept it to myself as much as I could from Nov 2011 onwards but, on holiday in 2012 I got drunk, I ran away but he found me and I told him how I felt, why couldn’t he have left me? So, I really fucked up and 2012 into 2013 has been the highlight of just how bad things can get.
My sanity was my job with Northamptonshire Carers. It was voluntary and I was so proud of it but then, they just sacked me, just like that! Nothing I could say or do would change their mind, I was that unimportant to them that I was gone in moments. They made me feel like a vital part of the charity, invaluable to them and then, nothing. At the same time Deej left and I started divorce proceedings, I was rejected by this other amazing man I’d fallen in love with whilst still in love with Deej. Javis totally abused me too, I saved his life again, spent a lot more money, invested more love to him and he became mentally, emotionally and physically abusive to me.
Each time someone dumps me, shits on me, rumours and lies are spread amongst those who don’t know and some who do and they are believed. I seem to become in the minds of others some sort of evil, someone I don’t recognise.
I screamed out for help but, you see, this has been my downfall. For so long I have been the rock to people, the strong one who will be there when they need me, the one who can calmly and rationally guide them through their troubles and make their life a better place. I cope with everything. People have seen me go through all the above with my head held high coping as always. It doesn’t fit that I could be vulnerable, that I have a limit to what even I could deal with. So, when I asked for help, said to people I needed them, I needed to know they were there for me, it should not have surprised me when it didn’t happen. Some did say to just go to them if I wanted, or join them here or there but, I wasn’t strong enough for that, I am really still not, probably less so now. I needed people to take a moment from their lives and invest just a tiny part on me, to make an effort somewhere close to a small part of what I had done for them over the years. I never said to people who needed me to ‘pop over’ or, ‘meet me if you call and make sure I am not busy’ … it was always, where, when, what time? I have been let down badly.
My love and dedication to people has been badly abused and taken for granted. I feel like I became the bank of kindness for which people only took loans they never intended to repay. In my investment in people I honestly believed I had created a safety net for myself. That, in the very unlikely event that I needed someone, I had this wealth of friends who would jump at the chance to be there for me as I had been for them. I’d been called ‘brother’, ‘Dad’, ‘husband’ and more, all titles I took to mean something special but, when it came down to it, I was just the guy they knew who did stuff.
Then, just recently, Charlotte died, she was way too young at 18 but I understood and agree with her decision. It was a huge loss to me, to top it off, I couldn’t be there for one particular person I love dearly or her parents. I was shut out, on the outside of something which affected me so badly. Just one more time when my love didn’t matter. Charlotte referred to me as her second dad, a true honour for me and I wasn’t there for her not when she was ill and not to say a final goodbye. Who was to blame for that? It doesn’t matter. Somebody, nobody, it really honestly isn’t relevant. I feel as I feel. Once again, because I felt devastated and made the mistake of saying so, stories were shared of me and now more people dislike me than ever before. I feel like the punch bag of others unwanted emotions and it hurts so much.
One of the things worst about this deep depression I am now in is that I cannot trust people, I am imploding and my world is getting smaller. I know I have people who care about me but, I am finding it so difficult to let them in. I appreciate their love, I really honestly do But, right now I need to try to rationalise what went wrong, to take stock. Along the way I am going to lose friends, or, perhaps they were never friends to lose? Another loss but, I need to know who I can trust, who wants to know enough about me that no misunderstanding can shake their love and appreciation for me. People who will be hurt if they hurt me, that must be so few now but, I am confident that, when I feel better I shall have a clearer understanding of who they are.
The decades of loss of family, friends and future have taken a kick at me that I am struggling with. Others may have been able to breeze through this but, this is my teddy bear and it hurts.