Last weekend we should have been celebrating your 42nd birthday. We should have been having a garden party, dinner in a fine restaurant or drinks in a wine bar followed by dancing. You would have lit up the dance floor with your enthusiasm, exuberance and energy.
We still haven’t celebrated your 40th birthday, flights to Spain and lunch in a Michelin star restaurant cancelled, twice, because of covid. In your head, that means you’re still 39. In my head, you are forever preserved as young, vibrant and joyous. You were born two months before me and now I am older than you. You will not get old. You have been denied that privilege.
Your birthday will be marked with sadness, loss and heartache in perpetuity. At present, I cannot imagine a time when these feelings won’t dominate each anniversary that passes. Each thought I have of you.
And yet I smile too. I smile at the memories of the adventures we had together. Of the mischief we made, of being led astray by you, of the incitement of naughtiness between us. The most fun I’ve had in my life, you were there, leading the charge with your charm, cheek and ginormous heart.
You had a tremendous talent for making everyone around you feel included, special and beautiful. The light that emanated from you bounced off everyone you connected with. It was your reflection.
The fight to keep your spirit alive is a daily battle. Some days are easier than others. Some days, surrender is the only option. The only way through. Grief is an expression of love. To deny that enunciation, in whatever way it exposes itself, is to deny your existence. This, I have learnt from your beloved Henry. He travels through his grief without repudiation.
Henry is building a charitable foundation in your name. He is creating light, from the darkness of your death, and he is preserving, perpetuating and extending your light for the benefit of others. Your light loves on.
Le Petit Singe, the charitable foundation that Henry has set up, raises money to help those affected by sudden bereavement, heart conditions and international environmental and social issues that Richard was involved with. Please visit lepetitsinge.co.uk for more information and to make a donation.