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In memory of Ian

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Ian T. (20.04.1946 – 22.05.1993)

Last year when I wrote about the 14th anniversary of Ian’s death ( this section of the forums hadn’t been created; a lot of things can change in a year but what doesn’t change when you have lost someone you love is the memories you had together. I am grateful that this space is here so that those we have loved and lost can forever be memorialised.

And so today it is 15 years since Ian died, I sat at his grave thinking here was another anniversary that I am still around to remember but there will come a time when there is no one left to remember him and that is why I am making this permanent record so in the future his name won’t be forgotten.

I can remember the night I met Ian as well as the day that he died as if they both happened yesterday. The night we met was 19th April 1991 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London; I was a 21 year old student taking a night off from revision for my final university exams by going to hear the London Chamber Orchestra as they were playing a piece I particularly wanted to hear.

Before the concert I was sat in the foyer writing in my journal, as I looked outside I noticed that it had started snowing despite it being April. I glanced around and noticed a man sat a few seats down was writing too. All I remember about him apart from the writing was that he was wearing blue clogs which made him slightly more ‘alternative’ looking than your average classical music audience member.

During the interval I spotted the ‘Clog Man’ again and we ended up in conversation and he asked for my number at the end of the concert. Despite an age difference of more than 20 years we began dating; to me he had many attractive qualities – intelligent, creative, well-travelled, caring and interesting to be with. From that chance meeting my life was to be forever changed by Ian – he knew he was HIV positive but didn’t tell me until a condom broke – the rest they say is history.

We were only together as a couple for just over a year but it was a year of my life that I will never forget – so many wonderful experiences we shared; and the simplest of things are what I remember and treasure the most. I still have three daffodils (now faded and pressed in my journal) from the first bunch of flowers he bought me; I still have the chocolate wrapper from a single heart-shaped chocolate he brought back from the shop one morning; the cuddly toy lion he bought me as a Christmas present has sat at the end of my bed every night for the last 17 years; I still have every card, post-it note and letter he ever wrote to me; I could go on and on.

Although we had ended our relationship before he became ill when I got the phone call to say he was in hospital I chose to visit and then became involved with his care over the last year of his life. As he had developed HIV related dementia he was no longer able to care for himself and spent the last year of his life in a hospice for people with HIV related brain impairment. The last few months will remain in my memory forever and yet even in the depths of Ian’s pain and confusion there were still glimmers of the man I had loved such a great deal.

He died on the morning of 22nd May; I had been at the hospice for about 18 hours the day before and they had finally persuaded me to go home to try and get some rest and so I wasn’t there for his final breath but I did arrive within 15 minutes as I lived reasonably close to the hospice. I had spent the last week thinking every day I visited that he already looked ‘dead’ but was surprised when I saw his dead body just how different he was – I guess it was the essence that makes us human that was finally gone.

Not that he planned it but on 22nd May 1993 I had tickets to see Bruce Springsteen in concert and nothing had ever come between me and a Bruce gig. But here I was on the morning of the gig at a hospice spending time with the dead body of the first man I had truly loved; dead from a disease that had ravaged his body and mind and knowing one day that I might face the same fate. I spent a few final hours with Ian’s body at the hospice, then a few more at home alone and then decided at 5pm to get on a train and go to the gig. I was holding it together pretty well but when Bruce sang ‘Souls of the Departed’ the emotions of the day finally caught up with me and I cried amongst thousands of fans in Milton Keynes Bowl.

The weeks, months and years have been many since Ian’s death but not a week goes by when I don’t think of him at least once, such was the impact he had on my life.

Gone but never forgotten – Ian – R.I.P.

Gemini ....beautiful story and beautifully written....Here's to Ian!!

Eighteen years on, sat at Ian's grave again today thinking how different my life might have been if we had never met.

But I cannot change the past but live only in the present because that is all I can know for sure.

Still miss you after all these years, not a week goes by when you are not in my thoughts.

That's a really touching story.

Life is pain.

20 years on and I still miss you every day.

Made my annual remembrance trip to The Coffee Cup for raisin toast and hot chocolate today; too bloody cold in London for milkshake.

Was surprised how many tears came when I was at your grave today; thought that time might have lessened the emotional reaction but it might as well have been 20 days since you passed not 20 years.

Until we meet again...R.I.P. Ian



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