I travelled to Jacks home town for his funeral in November 2018. It was a colourful affair, with people turning up with full faces of glitter and tropical shirts. I met his parents for the first time. I sobbed my way through the service, as ‘This is Me’ from The Greatest Showman played.
The service was very Jack. Everything he loved, all the people he loved and who loved him (people had to stand outside the crematorium as there wasn’t nearly enough space for everyone to fit in). His new university provided minibuses to take their students to the funeral, from LGBT soc, from his nursing course, from his work.
As hard as it was seeing that such a huge number of people were affected by Jack’s death, it was also incredibly comforting knowing that he was so so loved and had so many people in his corner.
I cried a lot that day, and in the days leading up to it, and in the days after. I cried so hard I thought I might throw up at times. But my acceptance came though knowing that I could get through it. That this wasn’t the end of the world, and Jack would never have wanted it to be. I was grateful to have met him, that we had been blessed enough to become friends, and I hope that I was as good a friend to him as I could be. This was not the outcome anyone wanted or even expected, but this is what has happened. We have ended up here for a reason. Many of us do not know what that reason is, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to comprehend that reason, but he is at peace now. He is looking down on all of us, cheering us on, being the best friend he can be. We love you Jack.
For Christmas in 2016, just after he had dropped out of university, Jack came back to Oxford and gave our entire flat Christmas presents. He bought me a beautiful necklace, with the quote ‘Friends are like stars, you don’t have to see them to know they are there’
I will never see you again Jack, but I will always, always, always, know that you are there.
The day after I found out about Jack’s passing, I messaged or visited all of our flatmates from first year who has all known Jack. While waiting outside one girl’s house to break the news to her, I saw a double rainbow. The first double rainbow I had ever seen!
I firmly believe that this was Jack, telling me that everything is okay and that things can still be beautiful. Even on a grey, stormy sky, there are beautiful rainbows to be seen.
Another friend, who also lived in the first year flat, told me how she had been crying in her room (around the same time on the same day) when she heard a huge noise. A large tree just outside her window, with bright orange leaves, was blowing heavily, but all the other trees were still. Then, a huge thunderstorm started, and she felt comforted.
I try not to believe in signs, but seeing a rainbow, a symbol of gay pride and something everyone thinks of when they think of Jack, and leaves the same colour as his hair seems like he truly was trying to show us that it will be okay.
All my love,