Sunday, 5 January 2020

Kinga - A Year with Grief.


Tenerife 2018. This is the last dress she ever wore.


Hello everyone.

It is... Unthinkable... That it has been more than a full year since Kinga's life was taken from us. Time passes so randomly and illogically in grief. I somewhat recently wrote on my support group that it 'feels like I am an unwilling participant in time, sometimes. Like time is this unwavering sentinel, simply dragging me along by the leg, whilst I kick and scream - just moving further and further away from the time when she existed. I've been begging it to stop for most a year, but it keeps on chugging - relentless, unflinching.' The day she died feels just like yesterday - but part of me wonders if the nine and a half years we had together ever even happened at all. Some days, they just feel like a deeply elaborate dream.

I don't wish for this post to be about me - but I guess it is unavoidable that I will be talking about my grief here - grief is truly an expression of love, in reality. This has been the worst year I have ever lived - worse than anything I could have ever dreamed of living. No one thinks about - or wants to think about - anyone in their life dying - especially long before their time - but it happens. Perhaps we should consider these things. The me that exists now has a far greater understanding of the value of the time that I had with her, than the version of me that she knew.  We all get caught up in life - drama, money, crap - and we so easily lose sight of what is important. In the pursuit of moving forward in our lives - it is remarkably easy to forget to take stock and appreciate the things in our lives that we are actually living for.

I don't have enough pictures like this - pictures of every day life. This was in our old flat in Plymouth, 2011-2014

Legacy is a concept that has been a constant battle for me in this past year. Keeping her memory alive - giving her meaningless death some meaning - these things that have kept me going. Those who knew her don't need me to tell them how wonderful she could be in life - how undeserved and cruel her death was. She was a private person - it is true - something we both shared - but she wanted to make her mark on this world. She would have, too. Today actually marks the date where I have lived two years longer than she has - and my own marks on this world are far, far lesser than hers. She simply wouldn't have accepted any less than a bright, sparkly and glittery future. I often think that she would feel anger about her death, before she felt sadness - angry, that someone took her future, purely out of their own negligence and stupidity.

Nevertheless, legacy troubles me. She was 26 years, 3 months, and 29 days old - and had much, much more life to come - her greatest achievements were ahead of her. If the average person these days is living to around 80 - then she was robbed of  over two thirds of her life. This place is her most obvious and tangible legacy - and she lives in the memories of those who knew and loved her. Another thought occurred to me, more recently, however - that my own continued existence is her legacy too.

People will often tell the bereaved that their person 'lives on inside them' - but that has always felt like a platitude to me - a small, meaningless, learned phrase, designed purely to comfort, but devoid of real meaning. But Kinga was me. Is me. The lines between us remain invisible, really. Sure, we had opposite personalities - she was fire, I was ice - but we were each other's lives for a decade - from the ages of 16 and 17. We shaped each other. Learned from each other. Shared everything together. It is impossible to separate the parts of me that exist independent of her - because there is no aspect of my life that isn't intrinsically tied to her.


How she would want to be remembered - her makeup skills plain for all to see.


Legacy is also troubling because it implies moving forward - a concept that is beyond difficult to understand for many of the newly bereaved. The year mark felt like this huge moment - the end of this arduous journey. Reaching the mountaintop. I couldn't see that in reality... It was just another day. Nothing changed that day. She didn't magically reappear. My own journey didn't end - it carried on. I was at the place she was killed, at the time she died, standing in the pouring rain. I waited there (with her parents), until the time that I know she finally died - like some lost time traveler. A year too late. Nothing changed.

Moving forward is a concept that realistically I have begun to come to terms with however. Going back to what I said about how we were intrinsically tied together... Well, it made me realise that anyone who likes me, likes her. Because she is me. Anyone who loves, or may love me in the future, also loves her. Because she is me. I am her legacy, because I am a result of our relationship. The person I am - the person I may become - is because of her. Independent of that, I will also never stop talking about her. No matter what comes, she is alive for as long as I am alive - and hopefully long passed that. As Terry Pratchett would say, her ripples will flow on. I think above all else - this thought gives me the most comfort.


Portugal, 2017. I also don't have enough pictures of us smiling or pratting about like we usually did. 

Sometimes I feel like I understand my grief. Other times I think I am an idiot for thinking that even possible. To me, grief is just a neat word society has taught me to use, in order to describe the complete and utter decimation of our life - our future - everything I have come to know, or expected life to be. The word 'loss' does not even remotely begin to cover what I have lost. I may have found some comfort in knowing her legacy exists through me - but I will never, ever be okay with what happened to her. Thus, leads on to perhaps the most important part of her future legacy.

I still can't talk about the circumstances of her death. To say that I am aching to would be an understatement. I can say that the decision to charge the man that did this to her has not yet been made - over a year on, and 9 months after the conclusion of the investigation. I am a law graduate - I genuinely believed in the system - but so much of living through this has exposed deep, deep flaws within it. His licence has not been revoked. In fact, regardless of circumstance, this can't be taken until he is convicted. I guess the system doesn't value life and safety as much as we would all like to believe it does.

I guess this has the potential to be the most far reaching part of her legacy. It is not tied to her life - and it is not the part of her story I want to tell - but it is the part I want to change - when I am able to speak about it. I hope in exposing the flaws in the system - in exposing the events that lead to her death - there may be a few less people left where I am. I guess I have truly gained a spark of her fire after all.

Helligan, 2010. She was always so damn beautiful. 


Thank you all for reading. I want to keep writing here - as my brain allows me too. This place is the most tangible and real part of her legacy. Reading her words, seeing her videos, it triggers so many memories for me - small conversations, and tiny details. This place is an expression of herself - a self, that no longer has being. I would also like to take the chance to thank everyone who has supported me this year - especially the amazing friends I have made in WAY - Widowed and Young, a charity that has quite possibly saved my life, and has become like family to me. Frankly, anyone who has offered me a kindness this year - I owe you, and I thank you.

The biggest thanks I have to give though, is reserved to those who have heard Kinga's story, and speak her name. To those who help me keep her alive - whether you knew her, or not... I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Words cannot express what that truly means.


Marrakesh, 2016. So far out of our comfort zone. Still smiling.
Well... There's little else to say, I think. Here's to the continuation of her life, and her story. In 2020, and beyond.

'Til the end of time, Cub. 'Til the end of bloody time.



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