Life After Jamibu

James Michael Bullock
AKA Jamibu

Today marks two years since the passing of my friend Jamibu. He was diagnosed with lymphoma, which he battled against with all his youthful strength. He succeeded in beating it, but it took such a toll on his body that he passed away after contracting a chest infection. He was 25, and due to be married that year.

I wrote about it at the time, sharing a couple of memories and expressing guilt that I hadn’t seemed to mourn him properly. The guilt remains. That blog post was about Jamibu, and now, 2 years on, this one is about me. Sorry.
I haven’t really come to terms with Jamibu’s death, because I have preferred to squash it down into a small corner of my chest and carry on. It’s what everyone tells you, after all. “So sad, but life goes on.” So my life has gone on. 
 I was at work the day he died and about an hour from the end of my shift I received a missed call from his fiancé. I knew what she would say when I contacted her back; though Jamibu was my friend I wasn’t that close to her. There was only one reason she would call me. I carried on with my shift. I squashed the inevitability down, knowing that there was nothing I could do if I were right. I received a call from another friend after my shift was ended, confirming my suspicions. I called his fiancé to share the sorrow.
I went to work the next day. I was unfocused and glum, but functioning. Because I was functioning, I knew I could work, and because I could work I went into work. What else could I do? This is where I began to feel guilty. Should I have been inconsolable? Should I have stayed at home? Is this what you do when your life is touched by death? I honestly don’t know. Different people are affected in different ways, so who’s to say if there is a standard plan to follow?
I tried to be strong, to be a source of support for Tonks and any friends who needed it. Squash squash squash. I don’t know how much I cried at first, but I don’t think it was very much. I just had to get on with it.
I first felt a release when I led the Scifi Society in a minute’s silence in his memory. He had been a huge part of that society, and it had been a large part of his life at Uni. I found that the tears were welling up as I tried to speak, and afterwards I wept in Tonks’ arms. I felt better.
Then came the funeral. We were all standing around outside the building, many of us in tears. I felt an overall sadness, but nothing prepared me for the huge rush of emotion that struck me as the hearse carrying Jamibu’s coffin drove into view. That was it, that cemented it for me. Jamibu was gone, and he wasn’t coming back. I cried all the way through the cremation. He was cremated to the Doctor Who theme because of course he was. He was a wonderfully geeky person.
After that, I was back to the squashing. I thought I’d dealt with it, but in truth I still don’t know how to. Something will come along (excellent example: the Doctor Who 50th Special, The Five(ish) Doctors and an Adventure in Space and Time. He would have had the best November of his life) that will just bring memories of Jamibu bubbling to the surface. And while that’s wonderful, they’re inevitably accompanied by feelings of sadness and almost existential dread.
I have a selfish worry, you see. I worry that if the universe can be so vast, cold and unfeeling as to take away a warm spark of life like Jamibu, what hope do I have? What hope do any of us have? If Jamibu never had the chance to live a long, fulfilling life then should I be feeling this horrible intense pressure to do so in his stead? To not waste my life? Am I wasting my life by simply living moment to moment and not trying to make the most out of everything? 
I wish I could answer these questions (and I suspect I’m not alone in this problem). But I just can’t. Instead, I just keep squashing it all down and trying to survive one minute at a time. That’s all I seem able to do.

All I know is I’m deeply unhappy. I was unhappy before Jamibu passed away, and I’m even more unhappy now. I’m angry at the world for taking my friend away, for robbing him of the life and love he deserved, and I’m terrified of the world doing the same to me even as I carry on living.

This blog post went in a different, sadder direction than I had intended it to so I’ll wrap up.

Jamibu: I miss you, and I love you. You were cheated, and that’s not fair. We’ve been cheated out of your company and that’s not fair either. The world should still have a you in it, and the fact that it doesn’t is not fair. Life is not fair. Life is not kind. Life doesn’t care about our friendships, our plans, our hopes and dreams. Life just is. It just is, and it goes on. Life goes on, whether we want it to or not.

Sooner or later we all face the mystery of mortality. That scares the shit out of me, but then I never had your faith, Jamibu. I envied you that. I hope that when you died you did so in the knowledge that your faith was strong, the life you’d lived was a good one and that it was all worthwhile. If you weren’t allowed to live, you at least deserved that.

A good death to end a good life is all any of us can hope for when all is said and done.

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