Content warning – suicide (graphic), prison, violence, self-harm, abuse, homophobia, transphobia
On the 9th of July, I lost one of my best friends Taylor. He bled to death in his prison cell after cutting his own throat. The IPP sentence and HMP Eastwood Park stole his fucking life as freedom was constantly taken from the table. His suicide letters are full of despair at no longer being able to survive the unbearable sentence and the abuse in prison. He expressed the only freedom he had left – to end his own life.
I have been an absolute mess. There are no words for the grief, rage and pain. 13 years of friendship – feeling his care and love and enjoying his cheeky laugh. 13 years of trying to get him out, of trying to keep him alive. He’s come close to death so many times but somehow I wildly underestimated how it would feel to finally lose him.
I wrote in my Overcoming Burnout book “Grief is probably one of the most universalising of experiences. It is felt by billions. And yet even when knowing how shared it is as an experience and as an emotion, it feels like the loneliest place on earth.”
Despite my whole life being dedicated to resisting the state and supporting people experiencing state violence, I still feel so lonely with this pain. The last few weeks of organising the funeral, starting the inquest, and negotiating with the prison as his next of kin, have been exhausting. I’m doing my best to rest and recover. I keep waiting for the workaholism to kick in, for the rage to take over and propel me towards a political goal, but the energy and power are just not there. It’s just exhaustion and sadness and I can’t organise my way out of it.
I dreamt that all the herbs in my garden died. I haven’t been able to make medicine or even look at plants. I just miss him. I can’t imagine life without him.
To learn more about Taylor and what happened please see this statement: https://bristolabc.org/riptaylor/