I imagine denial to be the most pleasant of the stages to be in. Peaceful ignorance, although not sustainable, undoubtedly protects your emotions and keeps you in a state of numbness.

I heard the news about Jack on Saturday night and by Tuesday was done with denial. I wish I could’ve stayed there for a little longer. It’s hard for your heart to hurt if you believe that nothing has happened to make it hurt.

Because Jack lived in a different city, I didn’t see him regularly. Indeed, the last time I saw him in person was 2 years ago today. We hadn’t spoken since July. Therefore, it was very easy for me to trick myself into believing that nothing had happened, that he wasn’t dead. I think that me going through all my messages with him, on every social media platform, was what jerked me out of this fantasy.

Undoubtedly this was a terrible idea, and made me feel very very alone, and indeed it struck me repeatedly that every message I read was the last message I will ever receive from him. In the same way, I find myself floored as I carry out every day tasks. Making a sandwich? Jack can’t do that anymore. Going to work? Jack doesn’t get to do that anymore.

The night we found out about Jack’s death, we went to a gay bar and had a drink in his honour. Being in a gay bar, Jack could be most himself – his most authentic, true self. This night out was a lot harder for all involved than we anticipated it was going to be. I was unable to focus on any of the songs or the dancing because my brain was entirely filled with Jack’s dead he can’t sing anymore he can’t dance anymore Jack’s dead he never gets to go to another gay bar Jack’s dead. On a constant, nightmare loop.

I’d like to go back to a time when Jack was alive, but failing that, I’d like to go back to being in a state of denial. Feeling things makes my heart ache and my head hurt.

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