(JC writes….I gave this post its title and picked out the image…..the words are those of a dear friend)
It’s February 13th 2019, and I am sat in Tim’s office waiting for him to come back from Ashburton, he is late but this was usual for Tim – he messaged me about four hours ago telling me he would be running late and told me to be in his office for 4pm.
An hour after that I phone him and he tells me that he is leaving Ashburton in five minutes. As I sit and wait for him I draw rude things on his notepad and write ‘Your Mum’ underneath them.
There is a knock on the door. I put the notepad under a large book and get up and open the door. It is his boss. Her eyes are red and she has clearly been crying. I look at her and she starts crying again.
“There’s been an incident”. She takes a deep breath, it doesn’t work, there are more tears. “Tim…” she says. Somewhere my phone is ringing. I let it ring.
“He’s had a heart attack, in the car park at Ashburton”, (now on reflection I’m not sure why she added that bit). The phone rings again, it beeps to tell me there is a message. “They did everything they could, but it wasn’t enough, he couldn’t be saved. Oh, God, it’s awful”.
I look at her, numb, it’s like I don’t even know who this lady is or even what language she is speaking. I shake my head and instinctively rub my forehead. “Lorna…” I just about say
“I’ve just phoned his wife…” the lady continues “but I think your wife is with her…” That explains the phone calls….
And then the boss hugs me and I can’t hold it anymore. She tells me to go home, both of us are a mess to be fair, and she has to tell an entire office the news, I offer to do it and she shakes her head and says “Absolutely Not. Go.”
I phone my wife first. We don’t say much. We can’t. I sit in the car at work for what seems like forever but in reality is about four minutes and then I drive home.
The next few weeks are a blur. I spend most of it diverting calls to my voice mail and trying to come to terms with the (unexpectedly fucking early) death of my best friend. Whichever way I look at it, I can’t fathom it out. One evening in late February I remember sitting in my lounge and just feeling utterly useless. I keep looking at my phone just in case it’s been a mistake or some sort of miracle. But of course there hasn’t been one. Tim’s gone and nothing will change that.
Tim was 51 years of age. It is no age at all. I can’t work this out. He was one of the fittest blokes I knew.
Sometimes life is just unexplainable, rubbish and plain wrong.
We buried Tim in the second week of March, the weather was glorious, and he now lies in the church graveyard in the village where he lived in Devon. He has a view over rolling Dartmoor hills down to Becky Falls.
I was ok at the funeral until Lorna stood up and spoke. She told the story of how she and Tim met, a story which very few people know. Tim saved her sister’s life. He sat with her sister for four hours, on the top of a cold freezing pile of rocks, not far from the very church that we were all sat in at that moment. He persuaded Lorna’s sister not to jump off those rocks.
Tim was a hero. This may be a cliché and I apologise if it is, but I’ve never seen a couple so utterly devoted to each other as the Badgers.
After Lorna had finished her story she told everyone that she was going to sit down and a song was going to come on and from seemingly nowhere, this filled the room.
You all know this song. I had no idea Tim loved it, he probably thought I would have taken the piss out of him. I probably would have done. In reality I love this song.
Around a minute or so into that song, it goes “…Thank You, Thank You…” and people start clapping. There are a few cheers and then…well Tim Badger is the probably the only person who has ever had a standing ovation at his funeral. It was a tear jerking, spine chilling, amazing moment. .
Ok. It’s taken me two months to write this, I’m sorry if seems an impersonal way of doing it but that’s the way it has to be. I know that there will be people out there who would have wanted to pay their respects, I’m sorry about that too. Tim wouldn’t have wanted a fuss, he would have been embarrassed at the thought of it. If its ok with you, please pay your respects through this page, Lorna will read them all, I promise. I was going to post this over at the TSOBO place, but I can’t, I can’t continue our blog, not yet. I have tried.
I’ll miss him dearly, I already do. The emptiness he leaves is immeasurable. He was utterly brilliant, he was funny, he was serious and it was a privilege to have even been allowed in the same room as him.
Sometimes I’ll hear a piece of music and I’ll immediately grab the phone to tell him and then realise. Or I’ll see a gig advertised and want to go with him to that gig (Tim, Honeyblood in Exeter, 15th May, you interested….?). I’ll miss the ‘stupid boy trips’ – we were going to do one in March, to Scotland. We were going to turn up at Simply Thrilled hand a certain DJ a note with a specific song request and retreat to the bar.
Just because we could.
I’m going to leave you with a song, another favourite of Tim’s, I’m sure under the circumstances no one will mind.
Because, well just because.
I’ve had a few days to take in this news. It’s still, however, impossible to fathom.
I’m incredibly proud that I became friends with Tim in recent years. He was – as SWC says in that moving, eloquent and perfectly worded tribute – brilliant, funny and serious.
He was an ideas man and most of the things that cropped up at When You Can’t Recall Anything and later at The Sound of Being OK, were hatched from something that Tim would have uttered to SWC.
It was SWC who latched on to my blog a few years ago, initially via the comments sections before offering to become a regular guest contributor. He told me he had a mate called Tim who also fancied having a go, that is if I’d be happy to accept his contributions. And from that small beginning, great things happened, both here and at their own places.
I have one huge regret, one that Has caused me an enormous amount of grief these past few days, namely that I never got to meet Tim. There were a number of instances when it nearly happened, but circumstances, many of which have been well-documented in particular over the past two years, prevented this happening. Reading that the boys had plans in hand to surprise me at the last Simply Thrilled night was gut-wrenching…..
Tim, often with the assistance and connivance of SWC, made me laugh out loud more than any other of the TVV regulars. He also introduced me to some amazing new music and provided reminders of the magnificence of some old stuff. I have no doubt that had we hooked up, it would have been man-love at first sight and within a matter of minutes we would have been sitting in a corner talking excitedly about music, sport, politics, society and all sorts of unimportant nonsense, delighted and thrilled that the expectation of the imaginary on-line friendship was even better in real life…..everyone who came to the gathering in Glasgow a couple of years back will know exactly what I’m getting at.
Those who were closest to this great man will be hurting badly. They will, at times, be understandably angry at the unfairness of it all. And, if my experience of losing my best friend over eight years ago is anything to go by, not a day will ever pass without him coming into their thoughts. I do hope that everyone, and in particular Lorna, will be consoled by the fact that Tim was loved and admired by so many, even those of us who only knew him via words on a computer screen. He was an incredibly special human being and he will live forever in all of our memories.
I’ve decided to refrain from making any fresh posts on TVV for a few days – at least a week – to enable folk who only drop in occasionally to learn of the sad passing of our inspirational bosom buddy.
SWC also said something of enormous significance and wisdom in the e-mail a few days ago, informing me of the tragedy:-
“Tim was a brilliant person who wouldn’t want people to be sad for him or because of him.”
I’ll try my best mate, I really will.