'The stars are not wanted now; put out every one'
It's been many years since you died lovely man but I do think of you still..
Of course time heals..it's been so many years now my lovely friend... and who was I anyway? Just someone from London you met finally, after chatting for 18 months almost daily but it always felt like so much more because we were so engulfed in our friendship for all that time.
We did have so many laughs along the way didn't we? I think we would have remained friends if nothing else - there was no reason that we shouldn't.
I knew you wasn't perfect 'Vin', who is? I knew you were a deep character and had your faults... but I just know all who knew and loved you remember you often and treasure their memories of you as I do.... everyone knew you it seemed and thought you were great and all will have their own special memories of you xx
Our friendship was so very special,... We made it real on 22nd September 2002 in London....but then you died 20 days later and just 4 days before you were coming to London again. Our next visit was already planned... it was to be the day after your birthday and I'd bought you all sorts of bits including a CD by The Black Rebel Motorcycle Gang and a motor cycle calender. I'd already given you a 'Quarry Men' poster on the 22nd.
But that day never happend...I will ever never forget the shock of being told that you had died and initially I was so absorbed with my own grief, ashamedly, I hardly stopped to think about all the people in your life who were devastated - grief is a selfish thing - I'd never really known anything like it.
Looking back now, it was strange how we 'found' eachother.. Fate? I'm not one for all that - it was a lovely coincidence surely that's all.
Contributory factors were likely a mixture of a need in both of us and naivity, but also a rapport with regards to humour and for certain, a soulmate kind of friendship seemed to develop and it all turned into something incredibly special and close and for a long time we became completely dependent upon it. You did once say to me "No one loves me like you do Jo" but of course you were loved by so many people. I felt guilty I wasn't there properly for you when you needed someone and had asked so often over the last year especially - I felt guilty about alot of things...
Realistically, even before we met, things had began to change - you were so lonely and I had the best of both worlds as it must have seemed to you. I feel your last months were a happy time - you were busy (less needy of me) and going out more and more importantly for you, you wasn't as alone as you had been which I am so very dearly thankful for... I do know also that you missed being with your family dreadfully as you missed them, the good times as you put it and what was once.
However, we were both so looking forward to meeting again - you especially was making plans for us to get to know each other properly. In lots of ways we knew eachother inside out as we'd shared so much but of course it's not the same.
It was so easy when we did meet though wasn't it? You was glad I wore the friendship ring you sent me (I still wear it) and the day passed all too quickly with talking and laughing, pub lunch and a walk in St. James' Park - feeling so at ease and happy. I didn't want to leave you that day but I smiled as you text me "kissed you at last!" when you were out of sight. I smiled all the way home I think.
The contrast of the highs of that meeting and the incredible lows of 20 days later couldn't have been greater. I felt for at least a year if I hadn't known you, you'd still be here now - that somehow I was to blame. I'd given you a Cornish Pisky keyring for your motor bike but 'Bessie' wasn't the cause of you leaving this world. I didn't know you sometimes put yourself at risk when you walked home. I did worry at times about you; I remember when you fell off your push bike on the way home once, I remember when you woke up to a smoke filled room when you fell asleep with the grill on, I remember when 'Bessie' fell on you at the Plough and you couldn't get up, I remember when we were talking when your cat was knocked down and you got so upset. I remember all of it. I knew if you were feeling low, tired, hungry, or was up a ladder in the gardens - such was our constant contact.
The funeral service was a blur of shock rather than tears -it was surreal. I was an outsider, only a few people knew of me but I was someone very real who was devastated and who felt so incredibly lost for a long time.
The following year, I visited you at your resting place and talked to you and I will do so again. We used to laugh so much Paul - you were so clever and your humour was amazing. You were passionate about music and the stars, your beloved motor bike and of course your beloved' Plough' - I've been there too now.
I'll never forget you Paul - we were special friends who had found eachother at vulnerable times maybe, but we became so close and it broke my heart when you died.
I'll love you forever and ever, your bessie mate Jo xxx
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