My Dearest Barry

Have you ever listened to the haunting music of George Zamfir playing the pan pipes – especially the song called The Lonely Shepherd? When I hear that music it grips my heart and holds me in place.

I know you’ve heard the music, Barry, because we played it often enough in the house when you were growing up.

I listened to that music today. I sat transfixed in place and thought about you. It wasn’t your favourite song, in fact, you would probably barely remember the song unless you heard it again. There are no words to remind me of you, but the music brought your image into my mind. It gripped and held me, just like your passing gripped and held me.

Something in the pit of my heart stirred, cried out to you. It was the strangest feeling. You should be here with me. But you’re not.

Only you know the anguish I still feel even though to the rest of the world I seem to be coping quite well. Only you see the tears I weep onto my pillow at night. Only you hear me whisper your name. Only you know the true ache in my heart.

I didn’t want life to go on after I lost you, but it did, and I had to struggle to keep up. In recent weeks I’ve found a peace to sustain me, to get me through. I don’t know exactly what brought that about, but I think you would be grateful that I found it…just as I am. It worried me that you might think I have stopped loving you or stopped missing you, but deep in my heart I know … you know the truth. And I know that you would want me to survive.

In a few weeks, I have another dilemma to face without you, Christmas. This time of year was always ours, Barry. We both loved Christmas. We both dreamed of a traditional white Christmas with all the trimmings. We loved putting up the huge tree and the glistening lights. More than anything I loved seeing the utter joy on your face on Christmas morning when you looked at the sparkling tree with all the presents beneath it. These memories have filled my mind recently.

Oh, Barry, can you feel the pain I feel as I write these words to you? Can you see the tears streaming down my face? Can you feel my heart break?

Christmas will never be the same again.

If I could have a Christmas wish, I would wish for an afternoon with you. I would wish for us to spend time together so that we could talk openly and honestly. But if that is too much to ask, I would wish for a moment together so that I could touch your smiling face and give you the hug I so desperately want to give you.

You believed for so many long years, truly believed with all your soul. I wish I could believe now. Would that make my wish come true?

But it is not to be. I must be content in looking at photos, listening to your favourite songs, holding your belongings, dreaming of you and writing words that express how I feel, how I ache.

I must pray that as time passes, my memories of you will sharpen. I must pray that you are in a place of comfort and peace. As strange as it sounds, I don’t want you to have regrets, because we can’t change the past, but we can look towards the future.

It’s been six months. Six whole months! So much has happened in that time. We – Daniel, Gary and I – have travelled a journey that we never believed possible. We have experienced emotions that have left us paralysed at times. Our journey started out together, but we lost each other along the way, only to settle back into our own comfortable places in more recent weeks. I find that they have left me behind in their grief. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean we travel at different speeds. We all grieve for you. We all miss you. We all love you. We all cry for you.

You are gone and one day, when I’m stronger, I will watch the documentary you made with my help. It will only be then that I’ll hear our combined laughter (and we laughed so much, didn’t we; it was a brilliant afternoon we spent together that day) and I’ll finally be able to see the face I miss so much. My heart isn’t healed enough to watch you move about, and talk, and joke, and smile. But, one day, those visions will be my comfort.

Baz, there is a place in my heart that will never be filled by anything else because that place belongs to you. Nothing can change that. Ever. You are forever in my heart and my memories.

With love, always,