Goodbye My Friend

Last week was strange week at work, it just didn’t seem right, something was missing, someone.

Nick worked at our store for over four years, until he left last September, but still since then he comes in almost daily as a customer.

He worked in tool hire, but his counter was next to me, being of similar age and having similar likes in terms of music, sport, films etc, we got on well, even though our football teams were fierce rivals! I can have a weird sense of humour sometimes and out of nowhere find an offbeat reference to some old film, song or whatever, to something that’s been said, only Nick would laugh, no one else got it, nearly always Nick would, I did catch him out every now and again, but not very often.

Last Sunday I was on my way home from karate, when I met another old colleague. He said to me it’s bad news about Nick, to which I replied what do mean. He said that someone had sent him a text to say he’d died. I laughed it off, must be a joke, I only saw him in the shop a few days ago, must be just a mad rumour.

When I got to work Monday, I found it was true, his son had come home Friday to find him dead. The whole place was in shock, we couldn’t accept it.

Nick was a year younger than me, I used to joke to the customers that he was the older one of us, they always agreed and he would go to great lengths to prove me wrong, it was our on-running joke. Now he’s gone, I can’t help thinking that people younger than me shouldn’t be dying, that should not happen.

The other thing about it all the bothers me and my colleagues, is the relationship between Nick and his son Ollie, they were more like best mates. Nick had two sons and he lived for them both, everything he did was for his two boys, but the bond between Ollie and Nick was just so close. For Ollie, who the youngest son, to find him like that is just unimaginable.

Ollie’s a good kid, with a sensible head on his shoulders, I’m sure he’ll be fine given time. I pray for him.

Through all of this I can’t help but think, why Nick, this should have been me. Almost seven years ago, I wanted to take me own life, I almost destroyed myself drinking, it should have been me. But on that day God spoke and told me my kids needed me, so I stopped my plan and sought help. So why save me, but take Nick?

I guess in a way I’m questioning God, but deep down I know his timing is beyond our comprehension. At work, as a Christian, I can’t explain why to friends and colleagues, it simply was just his time.

As I walked to work, knowing what had happen I suddenly thought, that I hope after all our chats, he had made his peace. I have spoken honestly about my past struggles at work, spoke of my feelings, the depression, the suicide plan, the drinking, my faith, I had had conversations with Nick about these things. Then I remembered one time he said that I was the only person he had heard talk about and describe some of the feelings he had too, I hoped this was enough that he found grace.

As I walked a little further, I heard a thought in my head say, “Don’t worry, we’ve got him”. Then I had a vision of an army of angels lifting him up. It made me smile, Nick wasn’t a small guy, that was another running joke we had, his fat jokes about himself and my short jokes about me, we would get them in about ourselves before others could and then laugh at each other, never any malice, just two friends and colleagues having a bit of banter.

Nick’s brother is also a customer, I told him what I felt I had heard and seen, he laughed a little too, I said I’m not sure if it helps, but I’m sure he’s in a better place. Although he’s not a Christian, I believe he knows he’s in a better place, he said Nick was close to his Gran and he believed they were now together again.

We still don’t know exactly what took Nick, he was a big guy, but fit and strong with it, so we are still waiting to hear and have the funeral date confirmed, it sounds like most of the branch want to attend, so maybe it will have to close down for a few hours, we’ll see.

Thank you Nick for being a friend, for all the laughter and jokes we shared, as well as the deeper conversations we held.

Goodbye my friend, we’ll meet again one day, I’m sure.

You taught me the courage of stars before you left.
How light carries on endlessly, even after death.
With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite.
How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.

I couldn’t help but ask
For you to say it all again.
I tried to write it down
But I could never find a pen.
I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

I couldn’t help but ask
For you to say it all again.
I tried to write it down
But I could never find a pen.
I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

With shortness of breath, I’ll explain the infinite
How rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.

1 thought on “Goodbye My Friend

  1. leftnfree

    Sorry for your friendship loss. It is always the how and why questions that get the best of us. I pray that Nicks boys will honor him with great joy. I pray that as you saw that the angels lifting him that you will begin to have supernatural peace about this.

    i often ask myself the same question in why spare my life and take someone else that I kmow. I think about my cousin who 90 days after she called me asking for my help in recovery from drugs she was found by her son dead from an overdose. I really asked God why she could not get the concept that as an addict or alocholic that there is no difference. We abuse things to numb our feelings. And my cousin could not accept that and her own son 90 days later was found dead the same way. So, why did God spare me? I did way way more than either of them did but yet I am still here (and that doesn’t even count the 10 suicide attempts I did and at the last min was found.). I can only say God sees more than I will ever know, and that at least they are hopefully out of torment now.

    I will pray for you and Nick’s family during this transition. God’s peace


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