Why didn’t I say something?

A couple of days ago, I saw the Great Scot had posted on Facebook, for the first time in over a year. He had shared a post about the lead singer of the band Frightened Rabbit, who was missing.

Fuck. I thought.

I googled Frightened Rabbit, a Scottish band I quite like, and the Great Scot loves, to find out more.

Oh fuck.

I read about how Scott Hutchison was last seen leaving a hotel near the Forth Bridge, in Edinburgh. Around that time, he had tweeted

“Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not. I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones.”

I read “I didn’t live by that” and my stomach lurched.

This does not look at all good.

Before I went to sleep last night, I googled Frightened Rabbit again and looked on Twitter, to see if anything else had happened.

I thought about the Great Scot, all gorgeous and sad and infuriating and vulnerable. I thought about Richey Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers, who also went missing and was never found, but his car was found near the Severn Bridge. I thought about how awful it would be to have a loved one go missing.

It’s so hard to move on, even when you know for certain the person is dead. Even years later, I still have fleeting moments when I think for a second of things to tell my dead ex-boyfriend, before remembering he’s never coming back. It took a long time before I could have sex with someone else without feeling guilty.

It must be so incredibly difficult to come to terms with the loss, when there actually is a possibility, however remote, that the person could come back. It must feel like being in frozen in time, in the moment right before the howl when it sinks in that they’re never coming back.

When I woke up this morning, I checked the news again. A lump rose in my throat when I read that Scott Hutchison’s body had been found.

We came home from Romania today. There was a bit of a mad rush, first thing. Once we were on the early train from Transylvania back to Bucharest, I read more about Scott Hutchison. I read tweets on Twitter from devastated fans. A recurring theme was how Frightened Rabbit’s songs had helped a lot of people through periods of depression.

The last time I saw the Great Scot, he added lots of songs to a playlist of Scottish artists that I had made. He added a Frightened Rabbit song. He went to see them a few weeks ago.

My favourite of their songs is ‘Swim Until you can’t see Land‘.

I sat on the train, looking at the Romanian countryside, and I thought about everyone who is so sad – the rest of the band, his family and friends, and everyone who loved their music.

I thought about people I know who committed suicide, and I surreptitiously shed a few tears behind my sunglasses.

I wondered if the Great Scot knew yet. Romania is two hours ahead of the UK, and it was still quite early.

I kept changing my mind, and picking up my phone and putting it back down but in the end I decided to send the Great Scot a message.

I just wrote “I hope you’re ok” as I knew he’d be sad.

It couldn’t be clearer that things are completely done and dusted between the Great Scot and me, so I wasn’t trying to restart anything.

He hasn’t replied, and I’m honestly not bothered about that. In fact, I hardly registered that my message went unacknowledged, until I started writing this.

My reason for messaging him was that, since my ex-boyfriend died, I always try to avoid leaving things unsaid. I know how easily someone can be here one minute, and gone the next.

I really think that one of the worst things about his death was that I left him and broke his heart right before he died. I really believe it would have been a hundred times less painful if he’d died when we were still together.

However, the one thing I’m grateful for, is that our breakup meant that I told exactly how I felt about him, right before he died. I got to say goodbye, even though it was much more final and devastating than the goodbye than I expected.

We held each other and sobbed and I told him exactly how much I still loved him and what I loved about him, even though I was leaving.

At his funeral, so many of his friends said they hadn’t seen him for ages and they so regretted that. They wished they’d told him how great he was, as he gave a strong impression of being someone who had no idea.

My brother said he had been meaning for ages to reply to his last message.

I’m so grateful that I told him how much I love him. So now, if I think something nice about someone, that I want them to know, I try to say it, because I know I can’t assume there will be another day.

I always say this to myself:

Try not to leave things unsaid, but know there will always be something you didn’t say.

Realistically, you can’t say everything you ever think about someone. You’d never get anything else done. And if you lived every moment of a relationship dwelling on the fact the person might die, you wouldn’t get the moments of levity and joy that make up happy memories.

But if I feel love or appreciation for someone, I think about whether they know. If something is unresolved, I try to resolve it.

Occasionally I worry about the Great Scot. Last time I saw him, he told me he had thought about suicide. In fact, the very last thing I said to him in person, before we got on our respective trains, was “please don’t kill yourself. I like having you around!” Probably because of the above motto.

I’m not that worried. I spend all day every day talking to people about suicide, and I know the kind of suicidal thoughts he described are not uncommon.

But I know that the suicide rate slightly increases after a high profile suicide has been in the news, and I know he’ll be sad right now.

I’m sure he’s fine, but if I ever heard anything had happened to him, I’d look back on all those times I opened up my conversation with him and started to write something, before thinking better of it and deleting it and putting my phone back down.

I don’t want to regret not saying anything, so I wrote it again and pressed send, and thought no more of it.

As Scott Hutchison said those final tweets, “Be so good to everyone you love… hug your loved ones.”

This is an article listing the best Frightened Rabbit songs.

This is an article describing why they were so popular.

7 thoughts on “Why didn’t I say something?

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I also like to talk openly abut suicide. It is so important that we don’t hide it. It is also so important that we don’t take those we care about or life for granted. We never know what is going to happen tomorrow. I am going to check out this band. Hugs to you. Hope the Scot is doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

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