I miss you, my friend.

Recently on Facebook, I was reminded that a dear friend had his birthday coming up. A part of me got excited, but that was short lived. It wasn’t a reminder that it is his birthday, to me, it was a reminder that he was no longer here. That my friend was dead, and I felt a hole inside me deepening more. Donald “Dharma” Cuthbert was like a crazy, weird uncle that I loved to be around. Despite his strange sense of humour and a different sense of style, and at first might not have hit it off too well. In the end, we became great friends and I was always willing to stop and have a chat, even if I was working.
When I first met Dharma, he was walking towards the common room at my university, he had a black leather jacket, stretchers in both ears, septum pierced, slight coloring through his grey messy hair, a zimmer frame announced he was gay and started spilling lots of dirty jokes. Not what you expect from a mid-fifties Christian male at a Theological College. I think that is why I liked him so much and got on with him. He was different and unique and brought life to some things.
He was like me and struggled with extreme mental health issues and struggled against the NHS. He had lots of physical problems as well as mental, was in the hospital a lot, on different medication, started drinking badly despite all his medications and health problems. Sadly, due to health complications, he passed away after a heart attack in 2016.
I never heard until a few days later through Facebook, and I felt like I had been punched in the chest. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t say anything, I just stared in shock at the computer screen with the news. At first, I thought it was a horrible prank. That, someone, was just messing, but it was true. Despite that truth, I always expected to see him walking to the shops or the high street. To see his smile and to have a good laugh. It has been just over a year since he passed away, and thinking about it makes me feel like I can’t breathe and that there is a hole eating away at me. I think about him a lot but the reminder of his birthday made it that more fresh again.
I will always miss my crazy friend. Like all my close friends who are near or far or even gone, he will have a place in my heart forever.

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