I wake up in the morning and he’s not there. He’s not sat at the bottom of the stairs waiting for me to jump out of bed, and I don’t like it. Actually…I HATE IT!
When I was woken up on June 2nd 2016 at 6am, told my best friend had collapsed, I knew I was going to say goodbye. My best friend, my brother, and my life companion, Flash had suffered a stroke two days after I left my job, and reality sunk in.
Reality told me at the tender age of 15, this was going to be the end. I jumped out of bed in lightning speed when I was told the news, and the moment I saw him, I broke down.
My heart broke into pieces knowing I’d be spending the last few hours with my brother, and I just couldn’t let go. I held him so close in our front garden, letting him know I’d be staying with him until the last moment, and when the time came, I stuck to that promise.
Seeing him pass away in the vet’s arm, I couldn’t cope. I sat there with a puddle of tears around me and more streaking from my eyes, and the vet couldn’t cope. I couldn’t cope. None of my family could say goodbye, and whilst they sat outside the vet’s room, I was sat in a ball, knowing the one person who stopped me from committing suicide had gone.
This is why it’s so hard. Flash didn’t know what would happen a few years after he arrived at our house, and yet when I was going through my mental health battle as a child, he was always there. He was there with his cheeky smile, either about to pounce, ready to lick me to his heart content or because he wanted to lie by my side (he gave a good spoon), so I knew my 4-legged brother had my back.
I’d arrive home after running back from school, scared the bullies were behind me and for whatever reason, the love Flash showed kept me going. He kept me going by just being there, ready for cuddles and a night of me being me. That’s the meaning of a dog behind a man’s best friend.
During the time, I battled with my inner demons, I was always thinking of ideas on how to end my life. I didn’t want to be alive when I was a child, with the loss of my nan, my mum’s breast cancer battle and my sister’s stroke, and somehow… I MEAN SOMEHOW, Flash was the reason I didn’t go through with it.
I’d see him sat there, well laying down when I got home (he was a tad lazy at times) and everything around me was gone. I’d go into my own little bubble with Flash, knowing having him by my side was all I needed, and when I think back to the moment he left, I felt a massive part of my life taken away from me.
I didn’t know how to do things on my own, and I didn’t speak to my parents, so I had to build a resilient attitude, making Flash a promise that I will continue his legacy.
Flash being there for me and showing me it was OK to open up, I began to share my story. I began to understand that my battle HAD to be shared. I had to share my inner demons to the world, as I didn’t want anyone else feeling the way I did.
NO-ONE IS EVER TRULY ALONE!
Flash was there for me when I really needed him, and what he done for me is an action I’ll do for others. When I shared my mental health story to the world for the first time in March, I knew his legacy had only just started.
I can’t explain how much I wish he was here right now. I wish he was sat next to me whilst I was typing this, seeing the tears pour down my face, and receiving a hug so big, he knew he changed my life.
Truth is…he didn’t just change my life…HE SAVED IT! Flash saved me from doing something I thought I had no control over, but actually…I DID! WE ALL DO!
We all have the power to control our actions and Flash showed me my inner strength. An inner strength, that yes, is still very soppy and can be easily broken (especially by watching Marley and Me), but it’s now changing the lives of others, because he showed me the way. He was the light at the end of the tunnel.
He was the Marley in Marley and Me, and despite the fact he passed away similar to the way Marley did, I will remember the moment I first watched the film, as flash was lying next to me, as Marley passed. It’ll be one of the hardest memories to remember, knowing how much this part of my story has caused a lot of emotions from friends, fellow bloggers, and fellow charity professionals, but that’s life.
Memories will not always be the greatest things to remind you of how losing someone is heart-breaking to go through at the time, and even more so a year on remembering how they slipped away from you, but Flash will be a memory I will always hold close to my heart.
Having him in my life for 15 years was a blessing and I’m imagining cuddling into him right now and feeling that brotherly love we have for one another.
Flash was never really a pet. He was my best friend and my brother.