I've been wanting update my blog over the past ten days or so, but I don't know what to say. I have been lost for words in a very real sense, yet my mind has been full to bursting with thoughts and memories, and I've been overflowing with feelings and emotions. Nn's sudden and unexpected suicide has had a huge impact on me. Everything I do, everywhere I go, everything I see sparks a memory, although rather strangely most of them have been from when we were both quite young. Nn as a boy scratting in his Lego, always making some amazing vehicle that would end up being blasted to pieces by his toy helicopter, usually while he/we watched The A-Team.
Saturday afternoon trips down to the little cinema - The Forum - in Hexham for a cheap showing of something or other. I think that's where I saw The Empire Strikes Back.
Coming back from a holiday on the Isle of Skye and stopping at a wonderfully long and deserted beach on the west coast of Scotland not too long after we'd arrived back on the mainland. A bright, sunny afternoon that warranted a break in the drive. Dad and K (my step-mum (she died in 1996 and I have another step-mother now - B)) went for a stroll up the beach; I don't remember what my brother M was doing, though he may have been with my brother C who was running up and down the beach and in and out of the sea in his usual hyperactive way; while Nn and I were mesmerised by the millions of tiny sand eels that were wiggling their way out of the sand and flapping, seemingly desperate, on the surface. We thought that maybe they would die if they were left to their own devices so the two of us set to task 'rescuing' them. We each picked up as many of the wrigglesome creatures as we could, ran to the water's edge and tossed the sand eels back into the sea, then ran back to rescue more. It was a fruitless task because the sand eels popped up out of the wet beach quicker than we could gather them and throw them into the water, but we spent the best part of an hour trying to save the lives of these little creatures. It was only when a fisherman who'd been gathering sand eels as bait, and had been watching us for quite sometime, told us that the sand eels would be fine if left on the beach that we gave up, although I'm not sure that either of us really believed the fisherman. He was the only other person on the beach besides our family, and he had a bucket full of sand eels that squirmed like live spaghetti.
Later on that long drive from Skye to Newcastle (an 11 hour drive!) we saw a pair of golden eagles. Nn loved birds of prey and had spent all week hoping to see a golden eagle. Dad pulled the car in by the side of the road where several others had also stopped to look at the birds. Our binoculars were buried somewhere deep in the car amongst the camping stuff so we borrowed those of one of the other people who'd stopped. Nn was beside himself with delight. A golden eagle! Two golden eagles! He'd seen the elusive birds for himself, and the only thing that would've made it better for him was if he'd been able to reach out and touch them as they flew.
Smiles. Big smiles. He so often had a great big smile when he was a young boy. Of course this changed when he became a teenager, simply because he was a teenager. In his early teen years he'd spend hours in front of the mirror, preening himself, trying to look like Tom Cruise (and there was a passing resemblence), and then he'd practise clenching his jaw in just the way that Tom Cruise does in films like Top Gun. Nn loved Top Gun. We had it on video and he'd watch it again and again, sometimes whilst scratting around in the Lego, but later making Airfix models of Tomcats (his favourite fighter planes) or Phantoms (my favourite fighter plane ... not that I'm hot on fighter planes - it was a case of sibling infection). We both got a cheap airfix plane from the market one weekend. We thought they were a bargain until we got them home and opened the instructions. There were no diagrams and the writing was all in Japanese or Cantonese or something. Neither of us were going to be beaten by this, and we perservered, but it was no easy task and there was a lot of cursing that went on in the living room that day while we sat there trying not to superglue ourselves to the furniture in our frustration.
And later, much later. Several years later and a different house later, waiting for ages, and eventually knocking in the door in desperation while Nn sat strumming at his guitar, composing songs on the toilet.
I came across a recording online of Nn in interview and playing a couple of his songs (and one by someone else) on a Scotish radio station. It made me cry. It's not that he was the best of song writers (though he wasn't bad), and his untrained voice could be rough around the edges, but hearing him sounding happy in the interview, hearing his liveliness, although also hearing a sadness in his music made me cry. It made me miss him more and more. It made me desperately sorry that he had become so desperately unhappy and lost ... so unhappy and lost that he hanged himself...
...It's his funeral on Monday. I'm going up to Edinburgh tomorrow to stay with Mum and will go to the funeral from there. I'll only go to Dundee for the day, going back to Mum's in the evening and coming home on Tuesday. I'm going on the train. I usually drive to Edinburgh, but I thought it best not to in the circumstances. Too emotional a trip.
So sad. So terribly sad. I keep wishing it'll turn out not to be true, that Nn is still alive... I keep crying because I know it is true and he was so unhappy. I cry for his desolation as much as I cry for the loss of such a fantastic person. Poor Nn. Poor, poor Nn...