I'm usually one to shy way from strong emotions, both in everyday life and in this blog.
However today I want to write about Stuart Jarvis, my brother in law. Stuart was killed in February this year by a drunk driver near the house he shared with his partner V and her/their two gorgeous bright teenage daughters. We've all been filled by sadness today, and by memories. Stuart was a good man, he loved all his family, his parents, grandparents, his true partner in life V and the girls, and his brother, and niece and nephew and his friends. He won't ever see this house in Hastings, we moved here, then finally exchanged on the house whilst up in Wales after his death. He'll never see his girls go to college, have their first boyfriends, challenge his authority as a father (although they always did a bit of that, they've been too young to be truly naughty). He'll never go to his gran's funeral, he hasn't outlived his parents, and he'll never see our children grow up. We'll never know if he would have had finally found his calling in gardening, we'll never have a Christmas or a birthday with him again.
Our children will always know him, know of Uncle Stu, with his dogs Harry and Buster, and his lively family, his crazy van with different coloured doors, the presents he and his family bought them, the toy dog Buster, the train kit, the mini car, and the too small collection of photos. They will always know that adults can be sad, can cry, and can miss someone so much. That adults can still remember and will always look after them. But Uncle Stu will never see any of the children; either ours or the girls settle down, maybe marry, maybe have children. He'll never again take them swimming or camping, or to parties.
And we're missing our brother, Stu who could always be relied on to look after M and me. When we bought this house he was so proud of us for moving out of the city, for giving the children the best start in life, and for owning an actual house. He was proud of us for doing everything for the children, and for looking after them well, even if he did not totally approve of them being vegetarian, he'd always blamed his parents for giving him bad teeth for being vegetarian when he was little. Nothing to do with not always brushing them himself of course!
Stuart was never in to careers, or really into modern living, he adored his family, he loved his friends and he lived life with passion. He was a musician, playing in a local Welsh band for years, he loved punk music, and parties, and drinking, and the countryside. When I think of Stuart at his best, it was with V and the girls in their house in a field, by woods and a stream. Although he lived in both London and Bristol, it was Wales that held his heart, and the mountains. He showed V and the girls all the places he loved, the beautiful places his parents had shared with him whilst as child. He'd just begun gardening whilst back in Wales, and it suited him, outdoors lifestyle working hard and being with nature.
So Stuart, tonight's for you, you would have been 35 today, your mum remembers well giving birth to you, and how hard it was and how much she loved you, your dad remembers it all, and is dedicating a website to you, where we can all write our letters to you, V and the girls miss you so so much, a bit of life has gone for all of us. None of us will ever be the same without you, but none of us would have been without you in our lives. Al and Ellie are supporting the family, and missing you, as are Wolfy and Lisa, and Rowan, and so many many other of your fantastic friends.
You would have been amazed and proud of everyone, and pleased that we're all drawing together at this time, and trying to look after each other.
Stuart - cheers, this one's for you, god bless and sleep well.