Angie's grief for her friend

Angie Stewart

He was 20 years old. He told bad jokes (What do you call a man with no arms and no legs on the beach - Sandy. That's one of his favourites). He had red hair. He played rugby. His name was Roy and he was my friend.

He died this past Sunday (April 21) thousands of miles from anyone who knew or loved him and I don't know why. He dropped out of the university we attended (I graduated last year and hadn't seen him since) the Thursday before, got on a plane to Los Angeles to audition for a film school. On Sunday his heart stopped. The last I heard no one knew why and the autopsy had not been done.

I'm confused. My heart hurts. This is my grief, disarticulate and broken. I have no one to grieve with. I wonder if he was alone when he died. Did he die in his sleep or did he know what was happening? Was he afraid?

I have no voice but this keyboard, I want to scream, to howl, to caoin for him but I can't. The lump in my throat won't let me and I'm still not quite sure he's really dead and that this isn't some awful joke. And I cry because I know it isn't. Sometimes I think that the only reason I drink water is to make more tears.

I have no one near me to share this with, no one who knew him. His family is in Scotland (He was from Inverness), and our friends are in Nova Scotia. I miss him so much. That's the funny part of all of this, I didn't miss him half as much when we were just seperated by distance. We checked on each other through our mutual friends, always with the thought that we would see each other some day, at a reunion or by chance. I am angry at the loss of the future of our friendship.

The pain is still raw and new and yet whenever I stop to read this it seems trite, self-pitying and false. Words do no justice to my grief and yet they are the only outlet I have.

I have learned from this though. Pain is universal and grief applies to all things, all loss and seperation. You can not grade pain. My pain is not less than his family's pain. It is mine and wounds me just as their's wounds them. I know that sounds selfish but I don't care. No one can tell me that I should not cry because others hurt more.

His name was Roy MacRury-Bartlett. He attended a boy's school near Loch Ness and he used to get up early to go look for the monster. Never did see her. He was the scrum-half for the first dividsion men's rugby team for St. Francis Xavier U. He walked me home from a dance recital once, it was icy and my shoes had no grip. As I took his arm I asked if he would let me fall. He grinned and said "You can trust me, I'm a rugby player!" That was our standing joke. A trustworthy rugby player.

I'm writing this because I need to tell people stories about him. I want the world to know what it has lost in his death. And what I gained in his friendship. I had a friend who told bad jokes and gave gifts and was a thousand other things that can not be expressed. I am more aware of pain now, and perhaps that is his final gift. I realize that Auden was correct, in poem XX, the one in Four Weddings and a Funeral, that we do need to stop our world when someone we love dies. That everyone feels that way, that we can not diminish the pain of others just because we do not feel it as sharply.

He was my friend and now all I have left are the memories. I am glad for them because I find new one's every day. And I can share them with others. If that's immortality then we are all immortal.

Thank you for reading, I feel a bit better now.
Angie Stewart

You can send email to Angie at [email protected]
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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW