Be a social butterfly...

I hesitated before writing this.  It’s hard to know whether it’s appropriate, or ‘my place’.   But I hope it will help someone I love to feel better.


The loss of a friend feels like a physical thing.  Like a heavy object has been placed inside your body.  Sometimes it’s in your head: it hurts and makes it hard to stand up from the sofa or get out of bed.  Sometimes it wedges itself inside your throat, so that you can’t breath or speak or even cry.  Sometimes it sits in the pit of your stomach, ever present, making you feel guilty for feeling hungry or for laughing.  Eventually that heavy feeling of loss settles itself somewhere around your heart.  I don’t think it ever goes away, you just learn to live with it.

Sometimes someone is taken away that you hold so dear that the loss won’t ever just be a heavy feeling around your heart, it will be a missing piece in your life.

Yesterday, my dearest friend Kat text me saying “Jake’s been found dead”.

kat with jake,

Jake is someone I would call ‘a party friend’….because I usually saw him at parties (and believe me he was the life and soul)!!  We don’t have each others telephone numbers, but it wouldn’t be strange to ask for them, that kind of friend (if that makes sense).  A couple of months ago he set out on an amazing adventure, travelling with his friend Katie around Asia and Australia.  They had spent New Year’s Eve in Vietnam.  I loved watching his antics on Facebook.  He became more and more tanned and daft in every picture and honestly seemed to be having the time of his life.  It was a privilege to watch his journey.

Kat had text me this terrible news, because she just couldn’t speak.  She couldn’t speak because while Jake was my party friend, he was her rock.  She loved him so much and just hours earlier, she and Jake’s partner had been sending messages to him, wishing him a happy new year.  I can’t begin to imagine their grief.

I hope he can see how loved he is.  The outpouring of affection and shared grief on social networks is overwhelming.  A few of us gathered at Kat’s house last night and sat up well into this morning.  We went through a lot of wine and a lot of tissues!  As waves of tears, laughter and silence washed over, I can tell you that a great deal of comfort was felt by reading through the many stories, memories and words of love.

I am devastated: selfishly for myself, for not seizing the opportunity when I had it, to become one of Jake’s true friends as opposed to ‘party friends’.  But mostly I’m devestated for those for whom his passing will change their lives completely.   I am, as I was in this instance, guilty of displaying a ‘manyana manyana’ attitude to most things!  I’m one of the many that secretly believe that they and everyone they love will live forever.  That there will always be tomorrow to say I love you, to say I’m sorry, to say thank you.  But one day, for all of us, there won’t be tomorrow.

The sad loss of one so young and so loved, will be in vain if it doesn’t remind us that today is precious.  Jake would be pleased to know that more than one reconciliation happened last night on his account 🙂  Jake was so much fun.  he quite literally partied like there was no tomorrow but I knew him to be sweet and thoughtful too.   My deepest sympathies are with Katie, Jake’s travelling partner and his family, who surely adored him.  His close friends, who saw and spoke to him as much as they did their own relatives, his Chris and his Kat: my heart absolutely breaks for you.

dive jake

There’s only limited information about what has happened and none that would be appropriate to share here.  For now I choose to believe that New Year’s Eve was the best night of Jake O’Grady’s life.   That he went to sleep and dreamt amazing dreams of his family and friends and of where his next adventure might be…and then he slipped off to somewhere even better.

The sky was so very blue today 🙂


UPDATE:  I’m told that Jake’s post-mortem revealed he died of sudden adult death syndrome.

Be a social butterfly...