I’ve been meaning to share more of my feelings about my little brother Colin for a long time.
The truth is that I’ve avoided it.
It’s really fucking easy to distract yourself from your feelings. There’s plenty going on.
Years ago we set up a website – colinmarr.co.uk – so we could publish stories and photographs of Colin.
To remember him, and not to forget.
The intention was real, but I haven’t really done that much to be honest.
And guess what? 10 years have passed by.
Just. Like. That.
10 years passed a lot quicker than thought they would.
I’ve been thinking about Colin’s 10 year anniversary for a while now. Maybe 6 months.
Thinking about it now, what really triggered all of this was signing up to present a talk at a local Pecha Kucha (PK) in February.
I met Gillian Easson for coffee for in Dundee at the start of the year, and she asked me if I’d take slot at the next PK. Saying yes seriously challenged me.
Why? Because I knew I wasn’t going to do something business related. Business stuff is a a piece of piss compared to sharing the vulnerability of someone you’ve lost.
This was my opportunity to talk about Colin, which sparked my thoughts about how important this year was to me, my family and to Colin.
You can watch the Pecha Kucha here: https://youtu.be/VW5Q-8wZKXs
I can’t watch it. I was completely shitting myself before taking the mic and stepping up to the stage.
I knew that there was the possibility of a breakdown. Practice is one thing, talking about Colin in front of my friends and family is an entirely different thing.
I mean…fuck! My Mum was there!
She knew I was going to be talking about Colin, but she didn’t know where I was going to take it.
20 seconds per slide. 20 slides. I took the mic, and I had to do it.
I don’t even remember what I was thinking when I handed the mic back. I walked up to my Mum and gave her a hug…and it was done.
So, it’s Colin’s 10 year anniversary…
It just so happens that I’m not in Scotland for it. Truthfully, I’ve had 4 double Jack Daniels and I’m less than half way to New York City.
We planned it out so we could pay our respects a few days ago. Colin has a memorial at the crematorium in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
On the way there Cara asked me a question I’ve never been asked before – “what do you think Colin would be up to right now?”
I had to think about something I’ve never thought about before. I had to feel…something.
Colin would have been heading off to see The Pars at East End Park with his son. I reckon he would have had children by now. A boy a few years older than Spencer, maybe 6 or 7 years old.
Here’s the truth…I’ve got no fucking idea what Colin’s life would look like now.
Colin passed away when he was 23.
Do you remember what you were like at 23? Experiencing earning your own money for the first time. You’ve got your own place. Clubbing. Enjoying life.
Buy some decks. Pretend you’re a DJ. Get a strobe light in your spare room…
If you’re in your mid 30’s (or older) like me, then you know that a lot can change between your mid 20s and 30s. In fact, what happens in those 10 years can really set up the rest of your life: where you live, your family, your occupation, etc.
Colin missed out on the fundamental years of the rest of his life.
At 23 real life is just getting started…you know, trading your maxed out Corsa for a fuel efficient alternative.
My son Spencer was born on Christmas Day 2015, and we gave him Colin’s name – Spencer Alexander Colin Marr.
A few days ago I was walking in St Andrews with Spencer. I was carrying him because I forgot his pushchair. There was a moment when I turned to him and he looked exactly like Colin – they both have blonde hair and cheeky wee faces.
Spencer is only 18 months old. He isn’t yet able to understand or ask questions about Colin. But I know one day he’ll want to know about his Uncle.
Colin was funny, witty and quick. He was confident, good looking and smart. And better than me at pretty much everything.
Colin was pretty fucking cool.
Loss is supposed to get easier with time, but what I’ve found is the opposite. As the years go on it gets harder. Every year I get older, and as my life changes, Colin’s remains the same.
What I know is that another 10 years are going to pass, maybe even quicker than the last. I’ll be 45, and Spencer will be almost 12 years old.
This is probably the most upsetting part. There are going to be no more experiences to be shared with Colin. No new photos to take. No new memories to document.
And although time continues to move forward for you and I, time stands still for Colin.
The truth is that I feel more emotional about Colin now than ever.
You know that feeling you get when you are about to cry? It feels like someone is gripping your throat and the pressure in your brain feels like it’s enough for it to explode? That’s me right now as I write this.
Maybe it’s down to getting older, and giving less fucks about what people think. Maybe I’m just more confident about exploring my feelings. Maybe it’s the whiskey. Either way, I’m taking myself there.
I occasionally wonder how my parents feel about Colin’s death. I honestly can’t imagine what that would be like. It’s just too much to even think about. No parent should feel the loss of a child.
What I know is that a lot of ‘the feels’ right now is down to Spencer coming into my world and becoming a dad. I never truly knew what love was until I met Spencer for the first time.
Anyway, let’s get this wrapped up.
The next 10 years are going to be different than the last.
From this moment forward I will write and share more about Colin. Not just for me and you, but for Spencer. So that he can get to know Colin as he grows older.
I can answer his questions, tell the stories, and share the memories.
Colin’s memory will live on, and he’s right here beside me everyday.
Colin would have loved Spencer, and he would have been his best friend and an amazing Uncle.
I miss you Colin.