Matt Kinnison

Matt died six years ago. Ghastly fucking anniversary. My world remains all the poorer for the lack of his friendship. I am fortunate that I have letters, emails, cards, drawings, online stuff, that bring him back to me. He had such a distinctive style; I only have to read a couple of sentences he wrote to hear him. 

I have an A5 envelope that he marked “For the attention of:      ” with a wee cartoon face that he drew to signify me. It has a few bits and bobs from him inside and I keep it on my writing desk. It’s not a talisman or a lucky thing. I don’t keep it to memorialise him. It’s just there, next to me. I look at the envelope often, the contents rarely. 

Six years on I discover I can’t make peace with his death. We say, “It’s a blessing” when someone is released from the agony they are in, but obviously it’s not a fucking blessing they suffered in the first place. What a shabby platitude “It’s a blessing” is. I think we live trying to convince ourselves that things can be fair and logical. We cushion ourselves against the reality of mortality. We’re all going to die. It’s the 3 AM terror that pitches at me through the darkness. Some of us die sooner than others. Some of us die of old age, in our sleep. Some die sudden, violent deaths. Some get terribly, dreadfully, fatally ill. Fuck all to do with fair.

There are expectations about grief. A hierarchy of grief. A sense that a death belongs to so and so more because they were xyz to the deceased. They have an ownership of that loss. Yet each death ripples out to all the people who knew that person. Each grief is unique and valid. Time heals. And it does. Thank goodness for time. With distance our losses become manageable. I don’t think about Matt every day, instead he floats in and out of my mind in a beautifully natural way, as and when. Remembering him doesn’t hurt. He’s part of my past, part of my history, another person who shaped me. Tonight though, I’m fucking furious that he’s dead. 


8 thoughts on “Matt Kinnison”

  1. Thank you Sarah. Yes, we try to be stoic and “good” and brave. I suppose that ultimately seems the right way through grief as raging at death achieves little.

    I appreciate you reading and commenting. It feels less like ranting into a void knowing I’ve been heard by you, and by all the people who have left messages about this on facebook and twitter.

    Thank you all.

  2. We’ve just had a 7 years anniversary that was similar. My (estranged) husband was 47 and died of a heart attack leaving our boy without a daddy when he was 11 years old. That’s not fair and I still think that all the time. I wasn’t supposed to be upset or affected by his death and I’m still angry how his mother treated me and more so, my son. Life’s pretty crap sometimes, isn’t it! Xx

    1. I’m sorry to hear that, Kath. Yeah, life really is crap sometimes. It sounds like you’ve had really difficult times with that grief hierarchy gubbins. Nope, not fair. Xx

  3. I found myself relishing the distance I’ve cultivated between myself and those I’m meant to care about, right until the point where I realised I’m scared of dying alone. Perhaps this is evidence of utter selfishness on my part, or perhaps it’s a basic human desire to share each meaningful experience, who knows, but reading about your grief for your friend makes me a feel a little more inclined to reach out and a little less afraid to say how much your post matters.

    1. I’ve read your comment several times Rachel, and I appreciate you reading and commenting, but I’m a little unclear on what you mean by relishing distances that you’ve cultivated between you and those you are meant to care about. I don’t think we HAVE to care about people purely because they are our family or because they have been in our lives for X amount of years or whatever. Often if someone has cultivated distance it’s through necessity. Sometimes a relationship is kinda toxic and steering clear is all for the best. I suppose my feeling is that if you’re relishing that distance then good for you. The precious connections that we do make are all the more special for how rarely they occur.

      Funnily enough, Matt was in my life for many years. He was my best friend’s partner and he was in a band with my now husband, then boyfriend. We were perfectly friendly to each other, but we weren’t friends. It was only when his relationships with my best pal and husband no longer existed that we somehow discovered that we got along brilliantly, despite how potentially complicated our friendship was.

      Life is peculiar, but I am always going to be glad that I reached out to Matt because in doing so our relationship blossomed into an incredibly meaningful, and unexpected, friendship.

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