29. Stuart (Guest) 

 
Today’s guest post is a heartwrenchingly honest account of loss and love. Lawrence highlights to us the importance of sharing love with those around us, at all times. Particularly at this time of year, his thoughts are ever more poignant. Hats off to Lawrence for his rendition of this truly tough personal experience. 

Christmas is a time for loved ones, whether it’s a family Christmas or all those pre-Christmas catch ups with friends you’ve neglected since August, getting together with those we love is something that we all enjoy doing. As I have got older, I have started to experience  this Christmas spirit a lot later than I ever used to. Then subsequently I almost always have a massive hangover of Christmas Spirit in January where I find myself rather miserable because my house is bare and there is nothing to look forward to till March (my birthday if anyone wants to send a card). 

The last three Christmas’, I have found it harder and harder to get into the happy excited frame of mind that I used to when I was a child. The main reason for this is because someone very important to me is no longer present at Christmas, someone who definitely should (and would) be, had it not been for a horrible twist of fate. 

Two years ago in October I lost my older brother Stuart in a sudden and tragic accident in Camden. It’s one of the worst things that can possibly happen to someone, I think the only thing that’s worse is to be a parent and experience this: which I have seen first-hand. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, not even my worst enemy. So for me the shine has been slightly taken off Christmas and the excitement and joy of Christmas comes less naturally because all I want to do, at times,  is cry. Right now its 3 days until Christmas, my Brother has been on my mind for a significant part of every day and I hold back tears every time I think about him.

We still have a big Christmas with all the family over and we still keep to our traditions, playing the individual CDs that we get in our  stockings – something my brother started with a Pet Shop Boys album in the early 90s and I have continued (although not with the Pet Shop Boys). Another key tradition is my Dad’s regimented cooking schedule (established through a couple of badly timed dinners in the 90’s), the aptly named cardiac arrest table that’s full of Roses, Heroes, nuts and Crisps and most importantly the Champagne toast at 11am when we remember all those we miss but especially Stuart – it’s very apt that its Champagne as he never said no to a glass of it.

I would give everything I have for another glass of Champagne with Stuart, I’d love to catch up on the last two years he’s missed, exchange some funny stories and hear him laugh again. When you sit down to dinner this year and raise a glass with everyone, be thankful for those who are there and make sure they know how much you love them. 

  

(Photos – Lawrence & Stuart – London – 2015) 

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