Barry, what do you miss?

Shortly after Barry passed away, I received a phone call from the principal of the high school Barry attended until the end of last year. She said she had found a DVD. She told me that there were snippets of Barry throughout the video, but she thought I would be especially interested in the end of it, because Barry talked for a short time.

She kindly offered to send me a copy, which I received a day or two later. However, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the DVD. Not then, everything was too raw.

Yesterday, I sat and went through my box of “Barry Treasures”. I just wanted to hold the clothes he wore in the photo I recently uploaded with him and his car. I wanted to touch the bracelet he wore. I read through the end of Year 10 booklet all the kids were given. I smelled the lock of his hair. Surprisingly, I didn’t cry. I’d done enough of that over the weekend, and I thought there were no more tears left.

Then I saw the DVD and decided to watch it. Actually, there were two DVD’s. The one that the principal had sent me and one that I found in Barry’s cupboard – the one given to the kids as a memento for the last two years of schooling. I saw many faces that I’d seen at the funeral. I know many names, because Barry talked about his friends a lot, but I can’t put the names and the faces together. But that didn’t matter.

They were all smiling, happy kids. Laughing, messing around, having fun. Barry was amongst them doing the same things. Then I reached the part just before Barry would be talking. The kids had spent a few days at Crossroads and they were being interviewed on what they had learned while on the camp. The activities were military style, designed to test their skill, stretch their courage and learn to listen and rely on others.

I heard his laughter first, while other people were having their say. It was loud and infectious. I knew that I’d soon be listening to his voice and I knew I wasn’t ready for it. Then he was on the screen, larger than life, cheeky, and so confident…and the tears came. I’m telling you that tears never run out.

“Barry, what was your favourite part of the camp?”

Challenge Valley.

“What didn’t you like about of your time here?”

Barry laughed and looked at someone out of camera shot. “Fine’s belongings in my face while I was trying to sleep.” (Fine was one of Barry’s closest friends.)

“What did you miss the most?”

Barry looked down for a moment. Then he looked directly at the camera and smiled. “My car.”

I couldn’t make out the next question but he answered, “Trying new things.” He paused. “Yeah.”

The interviewer moved onto the next person.

I had mixed feeling about watching the DVD’s, especially the Crossroads one. I was looking at a living, breathing image of Barry. In fact, it wasn’t even an image, it was him. He was moving around, smiling, talking. And that broke my heart. I miss him so much and I’ll never see that in real life again. I still have trouble accepting that. However, I also know that the first time is always the hardest. No matter when I might feel ready to face this hurdle, I knew that I’d be reduced to tears. I figured it may as well be now. I can’t feel much worse than I already do.

Having said this, there is another video that I have. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it though. It is a three minute documentary that Barry made for a school assignment. I was the person using the video camera. He was the presenter. I remember that we laughed ourselves stupid on that day. He was being so silly and the documentary was on the most ridiculous subject, but that was Barry’s sense of humour.

That video has too many emotions connected to it. I’m not ready to let those emotions escape just yet. That’s another hurdle I’ll have to face in the future.

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