This morning I woke up and quickly checked Facebook. This was more than just my usual obsession with social media. I was desperate to hear some good news, though truthfully I was not particularly optimistic.
A friend of mine had gone missing on the weekend. Last seen or heard from on Friday evening, his family had posted a couple days later on Facebook asking people to spread word and get in touch with them or the police if he was spotted. My quick Facebook check revealed that they had removed the notices asking for help, and people had begun to post R.I.P. messages on his Facebook wall. Although the family had not yet responded, a quick investigation led me to one of his best friends who had written that he had been contacted by the family telling him that my friend had been found dead in his car on the road to the airport. The circumstances surrounding his death are not yet clear. Later today, it was confirmed by his family as they asked people to be patient with them in responding to various messages.
This was not a close friend of mine, but I did consider him a friend. We had bonded while working together several years ago, and discovered we had many things in common. Even after we both left that company, we kept in touch through the years, often running into each other at events around Kingston. The last few years we spoke less. He had moved out of Kingston after returning from abroad, and we left it at Facebook updates.
Today I am in mourning.
My friend was passionate about music. I only remember hearing him sing once in public – at an office function back in the day. He was never far from his guitar. He was a rebellious unconventional soul – who conceded to office dress code by rolling down his sleeves to cover his arm tattoos but drew the line at removing his multiple piercings or changing the colour of his (then) blond hair. He was a sensitive thinker who was concerned about the state of Jamaica and its children. He was a charming, smiling person who could always brighten up a conversation with some witty comment.
Today he is gone.
And all I think about is how long it had been since we last spoke. I don’t even remember if he knew I was in Italy. I can’t remember speaking to him at all this year. All I have are faded memories, yanked back into the present by him being ripped out of this world. We shared jokes, lunches, music. I think about how his family must feel, his girlfriend. He was young. No one expected him to go. They never knew the last time was the last time. You always think you have more time. But the truth is you never know.
R.I.P. Serfie Sutherland
November 6 1980 – October 5 2013