Over three months have passed since Ben Hiscox left us in such tragic circumstances. Barely a day goes by without me thinking about Ben, or someone saying to me they can’t believe it happened. I certainly can’t. The world can often seem to be cruel beyond our wild imaginings and sometimes the sheer unfairness of it all becomes almost too much to bare. This is how it seems today.
One of my abiding memories in the days following Ben’s passing was the enormous floral tribute left by the football clubhouse. It was as moving as anything I have ever seen. And whenever I passed by, there always seemed to be someone else gently laying flowers, or having a moment’s thought. One of the many people I saw there has been visited by further sadness.
I cannot recall the actual day, but it was soon after Ben’s death that we left our own flowers. As we were leaving, one of Ben’s best friends and a football team mate was arriving to pay his own tribute. I wrote about it in an earlier blogpost, but I did not name him. Today, I do.
Seeing Jamie West walking slowly to the clubhouse on that early spring day moved me greatly. I did not really know Jamie too well before Ben’a accident, other than to say hello, but I feel I know him much better now. A hard, uncompromising centre half, the sort I would have dreaded being tackled by, was a man I suddenly saw in a completely different light. It was how I saw many of the “rufty tufty” villagers. Lads who work hard and play hard, the sort of people where what you see is what you get. And here they were, in a place where they could never possibly have imagined they would end up. I did not talk to Jamie that day because it was a private moment for him, although we have exchanged many words since. He is a class act, as he showed at Ben’s funeral, as he showed when he was on the pitch at the Memorial Stadium, helping to lead the minute’s applause. Someone who was there for his friend and his friend’s family when it most mattered.
I returned from a few days holiday today to find Jamie has lost his beloved sister George to that evil disease we know as cancer. If he did not deserve to lose his friend, there was no way he deserved to lose his sister at such a young age. Unfortunately, I did not get to know her, but just reading the comments on social networks makes it abundantly clear that she was an incredible person who attracted much love from anyone who did.
We know, as night follows day, that death follows life. But what is very hard to accept is the death of someone so young, someone with so much life to live and love to give. It is much easier, or rather less difficult, to understand and accept the passing of someone who has lived a long life, but impossible to get your head round one that ended so short.
It isn’t fair, but then sadly life doesn’t work like that. If there was some semblance of fairness in our world, the good would not die young, as they so often seem to do, whilst so many seemingly bad people live into old age.
I wouldn’t dream of telling the family how or how not to feel after this tragedy. It would be so easy to encourage them to celebrate George’s life when it’s been done too soon. But I still hope they can, in some small way.
Our thoughts are with Jamie, his family and friends today. It may be of little consolation for them that there is a close community trying to share their pain and to be there in their hour of need.
PS. I read on social networks that the BBQ which was going to be held tomorrow, as one of George’s last requests, goes ahead. Jamie said on social networks, “Make sure you’re there”. Now you don’t want to argue with him, do you?