Trying to make sense of life after my best friend passed away

I don’t really know where to start. I suppose this is a reach out for help or comfort. I wanted to see a bereavement counsellor but still can’t find the bravery to talk face to face with someone about everything. I can hold it together day to day, but as soon as I try to talk about it I end up a crumbling mess. So maybe writing it all down might help…I hope.

I lost my best friend in Oct 17. In fact, ‘best friend’ is an understatement. He was so much more than that; he was like a brother, he was my business partner, he was my flat mate. We lived together for around 7 years until he got the worst news of his life.

He had been suffering from blurry vision for a few weeks and had gone to the doctors. The doctor sent him on his way with some eye drops and told him he would be fine in a few weeks. A few weeks later his vision was still blurry. So he went to the opticians who advised him to get to A&E immediately. So I got a phone call to go with him to A&E.

Luke was the bravest person I know. He was the one who I always turned to when I needed advice, because he ALWAYS had all the answers. He was fearless, truly. But when I got the phone call, I could hear the shakiness in his voice.

I took him to A&E and after a long wait, he was finally seen. I waited outside the doctor’s room until Luke came out. He sat down next to me and burst into tears. He told me he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. I could barely breathe. Goodness knows how he must have felt. We sat side by side as he cried it out. I had no words…just fear inside.

After finding words of reassurance, I promised him that he would be fine and he would get better. After all, he was diagnosed as having a benign low grade tumour. We were sure it would be removed and dealt with by surgery.

He was booked in for his operation to remove the tumour just a few weeks later, so I took him to the hospital and we laughed and joked as always, and as far as we were concerned, he would be home soon and on the mend.

After the operation, the doctor said that the tumour could not be totally removed. He described the tumour as ‘flicking red paint into white paint. The red paint is the tumours.’ Also, Luke’s vision began to decline further.

Luke was still hopeful that further surgery and radiotherapy would fix him. I believed that too.

Whilst Luke was having his 2nd operation, he had a seizure on the operating table. This was a touch and go situation. When he awoke from the operation, he was not well. It was as if he had had a stroke. He was more or less paralyzed down his left side. It was so horrifically sad to see him like that. I was devastated, but Luke was being incredibly brave about it.
The doctor said that with physio, he would get movement back. So Luke worked hard doing physio and managed to get a little movement back. He had to learn how to walk again, but never really got to walk alone again.

Luke moved out of our flat and went back into hospital. He had to live in hospital for 7 months trying to recover. I visited him once a week or more when I could.

When he was finally allowed home, he went to his Mum’s to live with her and his brother. They cared for him day to day and helped him with his physio.

It was at this point that I just couldn’t bare to see him. It was killing me. Totally killing me. He looked so different and his movement was so limited. Plus at this point he was pretty much blind. His memory was also getting bad, and he was having seizures every now and then, resulting in him back in hospital.

We spoke on the phone pretty much every day, but my visits were becoming once a month rather than once a week.

Luke really thought he was getting better. So did I, despite his appearance and declining vision.

I was then diagnosed with Thyroid cancer which I was told is really cureable. So I had my first operation to remove the tumours. In this time, Luke was deteriorating and I couldn’t visit as my recovery was around a month and a half before I could drive. Also, I couldn’t bare to see his deterioration. I was a coward.

When I told Luke I had thyroid cancer, he burst into tears and said ‘why is this stuff happening to us?’ I replied ‘dont worry, we’re both gonna be just fine.’

Luke had both chemotheraphy and radiotherapy. Neither worked.

Luke told me that the doctor said his tumour was still benign and low grade but ‘acting like cancer.’ I asked him what that meant, and whether Luke would be ok and he said yes. He said the doctor had given him pills that would stabalize his condition and he would be able to go on to have a normal life.

I believed him. The pills were steroids.

The next time I visited him, he was blind. He was not able to communicate as well as he normally could. I sat and held his hand and cried. He didn’t know I was crying, we just sat there together listening to reggae music.

The time after that, he was in a hospital bed in his living room. He couldn’t speak. His eyes were open, eyeballs bulging and he was staring at the ceiling. His only way of communication was hand movements/pointing.

I kissed his forehead before leaving, told him I love him and got in my car, where I broke down and cried like a baby. Hysterically.

One week later, I got the phone-call from his mum. ‘Luke has died, Luke has passed away. He’s gone,’ she wailed.

I was walking my dogs before work when I got the call. I pretended it hadn’t happened and went to work. I got through work and said nothing to anyone.

I finished work and got in the car and cried like a baby again.

How could he be gone? How? How was it true? I thought he would get better. I felt like I couldn’t carry on without my best friend. I felt numb, empty, like life was impossible.

I spoke to his mum about it all, and she told me the truth that she had not been able to accept or to say to me before. The doctor had told her and Luke that he was dying. Luke never told me. He must have been so scared. He was so, so brave.

Now I find myself unable to accept he’s gone. Unable to accept the horror he went through. Unable to accept that it’s actually true and it’s not a nightmare that I’ll wake up from.

It’s been almost 6 months and the pain is still totally unbearable.

I miss him desperately. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t there for him more when he needed me, because I was too scared to see him in such a bad way. The guilt I feel is awful. i should have been visiting him weekly, not monthly, no matter about my cancer treatment because mine is still being dealt with and I am still here; he is not.

There are so many should have/would have/could have but the truth is that I can’t turn back time.

I miss him so much and I can’t bear to think about what he went through, how scared he must have been and how brave he was to go through it all with the courage he mustered up from deep within.

I hope somehow this will help me to move on by getting it all out. And I hope this helps anyone else who has lost someone they love- please know that you are not alone.


Hello aara84

First of all you are not alone either. I am so sorry to read your post about your beloved Luke. What a terrible and frightening time for you both, both of you so brave about everything that was happening to Luke and what you are still undergoing. Talking to a bereavement counsellor does sound a good idea for you, someone you don’t know who you can pour your heart to. I agree though it is a big step for you to take but might be worth it.

I lost my Mum to melanoma secondaries on the brain. She was given steroids which made her face puff up (we hid mirrors so she wouldn’t see) and made her very confused. Like your Luke she was very brave but must have been terrified. Watching her go downhill and finally pass away was the hardest thing I have ever done. Luke must have thought so highly of you that he didn’t want you to know, what a lovely man he must have been.

You must take care of yourself, anything you can do to help you feel better is worth trying. All the best of luck within your treatment and I hope everything goes well for you. Do come back and update us all on here with how you are or if you just want someone to exchange messages with.


Hello Mel,

Thank you so much for your reply. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your Mum- what a tough time for you and your family. I hope you’re keeping well and taking care of yourself after such a traumatic time.

Yes I know exactly what you mean about the steroids, Luke also got the puffy face as your Mum did. That was nice of you to hide the mirrors, you sound like a wonderful daughter.

Thanks for showing me I’m not alone in all of this, it’s very kind of you.

Take care,

Aara x

Hi aara84. So sorry to hear of your pain and anguish. It’s good that you have found this forum. I lost my Mum 8 weeks after my Wedding in 2015 to peritoneal mesothelioma. My guilt was because I didn’t too enough to help or spot any changes quicker. Which of course was ridiculous as there was nothing that could have been done. What makes things worst is that I now have a wonderful 20 month old daughter. I have bouts of What is probably depression and my Sister has said I should see a counsellor but like you I don’t want to. Just by replying to posts and sharing my feelings, it helps me to control my feelings. Take care of yourself and try a counsellor when you feel able to.