Dear Diary: Keith Flint

7th March 2019

I don’t like to write about someone I don’t know personally and his music was only part of the backdrop in my life. I was not fan; I did not go to concerts or have lots of memorabilia. It sometimes feels fraudulent when some dies to even comment when I have no connection or affinity with them. I do not want to be one of the legions of instant posthumous fans that last a week or two before disappearing as quickly as they came.

Yet, Keith Flint’s suicide feels close, from his age, his apparently normal behaviour the day of his suicide, even the apparent estrangement with his wife in the last year, are echoes of not just my life, but the life of so many men who, while on one superficial level can appear to have everything, one a deeper level of emotional connection experiences an emptiness and absence that leaves them lonely and vulnerable. The feeling of being a one-dimensional being who would be missed only for what people could take can easily overwhelm you and take away all meaning and connection to life.

My sadness is that I know that place, I know the darkness that I sat in, and that I would not wish that feeling of desolation on anyone; part of me knows that in 2018 nearly 5000 men felt something akin to me, and they listened to the voice that tells you that ending the pain is the best solution for everyone, and they like Keith, succeeded in ending their lives. The tragedy, that before a man is more likely to die before by his own hand than anything else, is one that is preventable but instead silently harvests the vulnerable.

I am sad, in a week 2 people have died who as far as I know did nothing but bring happiness to people; one Keith a star who hit the headlines, another Ashley who under her professional name was the change she wanted to see lost her battle with cancer, 2 friends have both had full mastectomies 2 weeks ago and face their battle with cancer and the treatment journey, not forgetting or friends husband who dies a little over 18 months ago or my friend who died a little after that … not one past their mid 50s, one barely past 30.

An only child, my friends, are they, none live within 50 miles, I think I have their addresses, they haven’t seen my house, and I haven’t seen some of their, one I haven’t seen their wife or children; I too feel isolated, lonely, and like my funeral wouldn’t need more than 10 chairs. The suicide, the death from cancer, my and other health issues, have, selfishly maybe, left me feeling vulnerable, even afraid at times, this is not the time I wanted or needed reminding of my mortality.

As I wrote this, I learned of another death of a man in his 40s, not suicide, but gone to soon, a friend of a friend. Suddenly, leaving a wife and two young girls, and camera full of the weekend’s photos of him smiling meeting all the people who he knew or admired at Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus Ohio, and I wonder, while the internet is amazing because it has allowed us to know and connect with people we could never have known existed before, to share life in ways the telephone never could, the other side of that is it brings the loss and grief, the sudden stop, incongruity of being able to see them and hear them when they are gone, there are so many things I don’t know, except I know today I miss them all.

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