I didn’t know him well – but then you don’t always have to know someone well to know how much you like them.
I hadn’t seen him for a long time, but his smile – oh what a smile, there was so much love and warmth and joy in that smile, that even after several years, I could still feel a glow from having had him smile at me.
So when the news came, it was a shock. No, not him, it wasn’t possible.
But it was. There on my WhatsApp, there in the papers, there on his wall. The man with the biggest heart and the warmest smile would smile no more. He had taken himself away to a peaceful place, said goodbye to this world, and gone in search of another.
It’s all so hard to believe. I keep remembering the nights, dancing to Madonna, drinking shots, laughing, hugging, laughing some more – how can it be that someone so full of life, so full of energy, could one day wake up and find himself so empty?
How painfully true those words seem today. My heart breaks for him, for his friends, his family, the people he loved, and all who loved him. His loss will be felt by so many around the world. I hope he knew how loved he was. And if he didn’t – well, I hope, wherever he is now, that he can read the messages, hear the memories, taste the tears. Someone with such a great capacity to love surely deserves to know that that love was returned.
I hope he finds his peace. I hope he smiles again. A real smile. The smile I knew years ago. The smile I’ll remember forever.
This week is mental health awareness week. If I’ve learnt anything in the last week, it’s that this illness really can affect anyone. The biggest smile really can hide a broken heart. We should all remember that.