So this post won’t be long, or funny, or even particularly nice to read.
But I wanted to write it anyway.
Today, I went to my cousin’s funeral – exactly two weeks after he died, to the day – and watched as at least 150 people all broke down and cried over one life. I broke down myself, but that’s besides the point; I’m one person. Not exactly a significant number.
I think Jay was . . . well, Jay was real. There was good and there was bad and, despite everything bad that could be said about him, everyone will always remember him for the heart of him. A loving, funny, family man. My big cuzzie. The guy I used to see pretty much every morning on my way to school, who would stop me and have a quick joke before giving me a hug and going home. Who still had time to chat to me after coming back from a 12-hour shift working security in an airport – something I know would take everything out of me. Interacting sanely with people – let alone joking around – would not even be in the cards. But Jay always managed it.
People turned up in their martial arts costumes, family I haven’t seen in years all joined us and . . . well, it was beautiful. I mean, I really fucking wish he’d have been there to see it. It’s the sort of thing he would have adored – all his family together.
When I see how many people’s lives Jay touched I don’t feel as surprised at my reaction as I did; at first, I couldn’t really understand why it made me shake, why I cried myself to sleep that night or why even thinking about him made my eyes burn. He was my big cousin and I loved him, but we weren’t ridiculously close or anything. When we were together, it felt like we were – whenever the family went out for meals, we would always sit together and bust jokes the whole time; we got along ridiculously well and Jay was one of those people that I knew would always be there – but, in reality, I guess we weren’t. Or at least our little family unit weren’t – my mum is close to his sister and her brother was close with Jay. So we had our little morning meet-and-greets and our play-fights at all the family get-togethers and that was it. When I compare it to how I am with other members of my family, it doesn’t seem like much; not enough to warrant the complete hollowness I felt when I imagined that side of the family without him. But it was more than enough.
But when I went today and I watched all these people completely shatter it hit me – that was just Jay. He was a constant joker, a constant laugh, a constant rock. For everyone. And it didn’t matter whether you were family, or a friend, Jay was still Jay. And it isn’t just some special relationship I miss. It’s a person. An entire person – a personality, a smiling face, a funny comment on my facebook photos, my big cuzzie teaching me how to punch, babysitting me and playing with me for hours at a time when I was younger. It was the guy that had met half of my friends, used to come over and train in our garage, would pick me up in the middle of the street and waste twenty minutes asking me how I was.
And I know that in the big scheme of things I’m not someone that is going to feel his death the most – he has two children, a widow, his parents, his grandparents, his sisters. People that were a lot closer. But I think the fact he managed to affect so many people is something pretty damn beautiful in itself.
I don’t really want to write about the funeral, because I don’t really think I could do it justice, but it was a good send off. Rest in peace, Jay, never forgotten.