Last week I discovered that the man I lived with for four years in my early twenties had died. Not only that, he’d died two years ago.
This was a man who worked out regularly, played a mean guitar, never smoked, drank in moderation and who suffered a fatal heart attack.
Our break up was amicable and although we hadn’t been in contact for the best part of a decade, I’ve spent many hours this week trying to process the news.
He was kind, with a great sense of humour and as I’ve continued on life’s journey (and subsequently had relationships with men who were anything but the above), I’ve come to realise just how genuine a guy he was. It makes no sense.
He had been married for eight years and had two step-kids when he passed away. Oddly (or not?), I felt the need to acknowledge his passing but unsure what to do, I slept on it. The next day I sent his brother-in-law my condolences via email. He was very kind and I’m glad I reached out.
More surreal is that I found out what had happened on a visit to see my mum in Tenerife. I lived here for three years in the early Nineties and it’s here that we met. In fact, we lived together less than five minutes from where I’m staying.
Earlier that afternoon, I’d walked to the supermarket and spied the wine we used to drink; Faustino VII. People would laugh at us because we chose to pay an astounding 300 pesetas for a bottle of wine, while the majority of the Brits would glug the lousy cheapo battery acid that came in boxes for tuppence. Yes, we lived large!
For old time’s sake, I bought a bottle and took it home. Mum asked me what he was up to and I told her I didn’t know, so I Googled his name, thinking I’d find out what band he was playing in.
Instead, I found a two-year-old obituary. I walked out onto the patio, looked across the ocean and stood there rooted to the spot, stunned.
I’ve lost many people in my life, notably all my grandparents and my Dad but this is the first contemporary of mine who has died. And he was a man that I lived with. What?
The next day I went with Mum for coffee in a little town called Las Galletas, and while we were sitting there a woman came up to our table and told me that she remembered my Dad. He died 13 years ago so it was a lovely moment and made me realise that as long as we remember, they won’t be forgotten.
So this is me, not forgetting.
We toasted Stefan’s memory with the bottle of Faustino.