Sunday, April 26, 2009

March 26 - April 26

It used to be customary in the Catholic Church to offer a Mass for someone who had died 30 days after the death or the funeral (called a "Month's Mind), 90 days after, and a year after. I understand there is something similar in Jewish practice, at least as far as the month and the"Jahrzeit" (sorry, I don't know the Yiddish spelling).

So for Chris's Month's Mind, here's a prayer from the Catholic funeral liturgy. Lord God, source and destiny of our lives, in your loving providence you gave us Chris to grow in wisdom, age, and grace. Now you have called him to yourself. As we grieve over the loss of one so young, we seek to understand your purpose. Draw him to yourself and give him full stature in Christ. May he stand with all the angels and saints, who know your love and praise your saving will. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Thursday, April 23, 2009

To Razz - Words Unsaid

I was a "late-comer" to Razz's blog, Doin me head in. I knew him less well than many other bloggers. While I read every post and every post is still stored in my Google Reader, I never had the honor of chatting with him online or via email.

There are words unsaid - by me and by others. And Razz, I found the following poem you wrote (posted on Oct. 12, 2008) - I hope you don't mind that I re-post it as well as the pics:
Words Unsaid

I had a million thoughts running through my head
thinking about all the words we left unsaid
somewhere in the middle of horizon's end
I'm standing all alone while my heart endlessly bled.

All the thoughts of heaven are hanging on me tonight
while the beautiful hour is nearing its final end.
Now alone with my pain and ghostly regrets
the only words left - are the words unsaid.

There's a part of us that is bound forever
by the feelings we shared every time we kissed
like a leaf swept upwards by the horizon's wind
I am floating, rising higher, much higher than I've ever been.

But now you're gone enwrapped by hypnotic grace
I fall away from you, on this rock, that's become my place
cursing life, repenting, regretting with every tear I shed
to my soul 'tis my prison I share with words left unsaid.
I don't know who you wrote that poem for - if you wrote it for anyone in particular at all - but I can say that there are many words left unsaid by all of us. I would like to say that I admired your spirit and the life you infused into your posts. It lingers within, we can still feel your living words. Through your blog you have opened a window to your world, and you have touched and influenced the lives of so many. Can you even count them all? Let me show you (though inevitably I've missed a few):

AJ: Goodbye Razz
Col: Farewell to Razz!
Doug: Razz
E: Razz, Remembered
gay+teen+sydneysider: dear razz
goleftatthefork: Remembrance
Highwayman: Remembering a Brother Blogger
Jay.osa: To a friend lost
Ken: comfort ............ for Chris
Lunatic Ninja: Doin' Me Head In
Naturgesetz: Razz; In Memoriam: Razz
Seth: Loss of Fellow Blogger...
Sethy: It's always a sad thing
Shane: Thank you and goodbye Razz
Steevo: Fond Farewell to Razz
Torchy!: Remembering Razz

I hope one day I will feel I've lived the perfect life as you described it. And as you said in this post, "[W]hatever is beyond death, may we all get the version that we wish for." May your ashes be scattered to the winds in the places most dear to you and your family and close friends.
Farewell Razz (Chris), you are never forgotten. March 26, 2009.
In Memory Of Razz

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

to a friend lost

What more can be said that has not already been said by others in our group.

We will all miss Razz’s lust for life, his spirit, and how he shared his life with us. We will miss his comments, posts, emails, and the late night chats.

I will miss him, be safe...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Razz would have done this, right?

I didn't know Chris/Razz very well, except through his blog, which I started following just a over a week ago. But from what I've read, I have a feeling he would have liked this and found this funny. Here's one for you, Chris! Run to your heart's content! We won't forget you!


Remembering Razz

'Quiet Contemplation'
Brighton Beach, April 18th 2009

If you don't know the sad news about Razz (real name Chris), please go and read it now, then come back here.

I can't remember exactly how I came upon Chris, I think he started following my blog, or maybe I clicked through a comment he left somewhere. It was in January sometime. I do remember being impressed with his attitude though, although I was confused by some of the people he was talking about, particularly Ste. I wasn't sure what the relationship was, and I didn't have enough time or was too lazy to read further back in his blog. So I asked him, and he pointed me at a post which told the story of how he and Ste became best friends. It was a really touching story, but I think it has now gone from his blog, sadly.

After reading that, and more of his newer posts, I really was awestruck at what a fantastic young man he was - intelligent, mature, confident, well adjusted and with such a positive outlook and an excellent sense of fun. Not only that, but you could almost feel the love exuding from all the people he talked about - friends, lovers and family. He clearly had a profound impact on all those who knew him.

I barely knew him at all - we exchanged a very small number of mails, and had only one very brief online conversation. By this stage his treatment must have already been well underway, although I thought he 'only' had a broken leg.

With his break from blogging and the content of his posts after he returned, I, and others, were concerned that there was something a lot more seriously wrong than just the leg, particularly after his post about being depressed and scared, and the medical conference call. A short while later I mailed him, suggesting that he add Ste as blogging co-author, to help write things that maybe Chris would find difficult writing himself. Later that same day he posted 'The Scoop'.

My post that day was for him.

The discovery of his illness and the resulting life upheaval, returning from University in America, to say nothing of the treatment he endured, must have been unimaginably scary to deal with, yet he faced it with courage and determination and still kept his sense of humour.

It's good to know that Jay and Chris' other American friends were able to spend spring break in Brighton, although, my God, it must have been tough to see the physical changes in only few short months. You could feel how happy he was at being able to spend that time with his friends.

And then, only a few days later, surrounded by his loved ones, he was gone.

'A New Day'
Brighton, April 19th 2009

A new day dawns and life continues, apparently as normal, but with a Chris-shaped hole in it. Many people will be very sad at his passing, yet at the same time they will feel richer through having known him in some way.

I send my sincere condolences to Jay and Chris' American friends and housemates; to Ste and Cate and, of course, to Chris' parents, sister, relations and other friends. I can only imagine the grief you must feel. My heart goes out to you.

It always seems desperately unfair that someone as young as Chris should pass, but also very unfair that people as young as Jay, Ste and the others should have to deal with this level of grief at their age.

I didn't know Chris well enough to know what he would have wanted, but I suspect he would not have wanted people to grieve for too long, and would rather they celebrated his life. From what I could see, there was plenty to celebrate.

And so, Good People, the next time you've got a drink, raise your glass and give a nod to Chris. Give thanks as we remember the life he had, and think of the special people who are left behind.

God bless you Chris, may your spirit continue to have a positive influence on all you touch

from Brighton Pier, April 19th 2009

I think it's only right that Chris himself should have the final words in this tribute:

"i’ve just had a bit of time to think and reflect, and i came to realise that up to this point, i’ve actually lived the life that i wanted. and that’s what makes it perfect. that makes me happy."

be at peace

Farewell to Razz!

I was deeply saddened and upset when I learned that Razz had passed away on 26th March. My thanks to torchy!, Ste and NG for letting us know.

Although the news wasn't unexpected, it still hit me like a speeding train and I spent most of yesterday in my room crying. I'm welling-up again now and I thought I was all cried-out!

I never chatted with Razz but we did exchange emails and comments. He was the first person to comment on my blog, and also to follow it. I loved his sense of humour, fun and adventure and his zest for life!

During my time offline while I was moving etc. I managed to check my emails one day and torchy! had sent me a copy of Razz's post about his illness. Of course I was completely gutted but I couldn't email him from the place I was actually checking my email, so I had no choice but to wait until our ISP sorted out our Internet connection at home. Eventually it was sorted out and shortly before he died we exchanged emails. This is an excerpt from mine:
"... that since I'd been offline I'd been wondering whether I was doing the right thing by ridding myself of my home and belongings, and heading off to Spain. After reading your post (which torchy! copied for me while I was away) I decided that it was most definitely the right thing to do... life is too short and precious to waste. We never know what's around the corner, so we should seize the moment whenever and wherever we can."

I emailed him again with replies to some questions he'd asked, but alas, I didn't get a reply... now I know why. Razz's death has served to reinforce my thoughts, and my decision, and I will truly miss him for many reasons.

The following excerpt was taken from Razz's post:
Talking about death at the local

"at the pub, we got to talking about stuff. death was one of the topics of the conversation - a perfect one for such a dreary day. we came to the conclusion that if one really look closely at why he/she fears death, it is really because of what lies after death. maybe a lot of you have already realised this, but i had never really thought much about this until this afternoon. some would say there is nothing after death, whilst others may be believe in the heavenly afterlife, or doomed one in hell. for now, i'm taking the middle ground and say that there is an afterlife, but an afterlife where we have control of its quality, just like this life."

I hope he's right, and that he's taking control of his new life right now!

I'm going to try my hardest to get along to Brighton Pride this year, and while I'm there I'll have a pint (or two) for him!

God Bless You Razz!

In Memoriam: Razz

Chris, whom we knew as Razz, was utterly charming. Many of you have posted very movingly of how he touched you and how much he meant to you. Many of you were closer to him than I was, and I am grateful that is was my blog with its post asking about Razz that Steven found when he wanted to deliver the sad news to us. From the time I found Chris's blog, I admired his big-heartedness and looked forward to reading his posts. I hope the blog will be left up so that readers can continue to come and be inspired by this loving and courageous man. But I thought he had a curious sense of privacy. Some of the posts which gave the clearest insight into the caring side of his personality got taken down, while those that showed the more fun-loving side were left up. My three strongest memories are no longer there.

First was the account of taking Jay out for coffee. After the breakup with Dave, Chris was reluctant to enter into another relationship, and Jay was really sad because of it. Chris suggested they go for coffee or something of the sort, and at one point he said to Jay something like, "So how are you enjoying our first date?" Needless to say, Jay was ecstatic.

Then there was the day Ste and Cate arrived, unannounced, at the university in America, and Chris arrived to find them waiting at his door. His absolute and simple joy at their visit shone through his post about it. [Correction: Ste arrived alone, and the housemates let him in. Thanks to Aek and torchy! for a copy of the post that tells of it.]

And above all there was the story of how his friendship with Ste began. They were very young schoolboys who got into a fight. Chris wanted to apologize and followed Ste home, but Ste was having none of it. So he sat on the sidewalk outside Ste's all afternoon until suppertime, when Ste's mum sent him out to invite Chris in for dinner. And they made up and became friends for ever. [Corrections: The day of the fight, Ste's mum finally gave Chris a ride home. Chris continued to sit outside Ste's home for four more days until Ste's mother had Ste invite him in for dinner. Also from the post Aek and torchy! supplied. All the more impressive.]

I believe the scripture which says, "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him." (1 John 4:16) It is clear that Chris lived in the love of his wonderful family and friends and that in turn he gave much love to them. Surely it was the love he experienced in his family that taught him to introduce himself at the age of six to people on Brighton Beach, to reach out in love to ask Ste's forgiveness, and to form such deep friendships throughout his life — or as it says in his post "My life has been perfect"
like no one's watching you
like no one can hear you
like you've never been hurt before
like it's heaven here on earth.

I also believe in a life beyond our earthly existence; and the love in which Chris lived here gives me much hope that he will now enjoy a life where there is no pain or illness, where love and joy endure for ever, and where all who love him can be with him at last.

My heartfelt condolences go out to his loving family, to Steven, and to all his friends, new and old. May his memory be a joy and may faith and hope ease the sorrow of your loss.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Goodbye Razz

I posted this on my personal blog... but I think it should be here as well...

Miss you Razz...


I suck at putting my feelings like this into a post... but I will try anyway...

If you haven't already read on Naturgesetz's blog... our fellow blogger Razz died a few weeks ago.

For those of you who didnt know Razz from his blog Doin' me head in... he was 19 and from England and came to the US for college. He was living with a few roomies and fell in love with one of them. One day while running (yes, Razz was sexy and in shape, lol - how inappropriate to say... I know) Razz broke his leg... after a few tests they found out that it was bone cancer and he went home to the UK for treatment...

He was very brave and always was in the highest spirits even when he was going through some rough patches in the treatments...

A few weeks ago... he came down with pnemonia and just wasnt strong enough anymore...

We lost a great person... a great blogger... and I lost a great friend.

I know I never met him in person... but I loved Razz as a friend. We used to chat for hours when he was around... and when he wasnt... we would email. We were both starting relationships at the same time and we would take about what we were going through... he was so much fun to talk with...

The day he told me he was sick I cried... When he told me that the cancer had metsastesized before they caught it.... I knew that his chances were slim to none... but he was so strong...

I really loved you Razz... and I am sorry I never got to meet you... you were such a cool guy and I loved talking with you. I hope you are at some peace now that the pain is gone... I hope your family and friends were a huge comfort to you in your final days... I am sure they were...

You were an amazing person with one of the best senses of humor - got to love that sarcastic British charm... lol... Fuck... I am really going to miss you...

I knew when you didnt email me back recently that things must have gone horribly wrong... but I couldnt bring myself to believe it... I kept thinking... maybe you went on vacation to Spain or something...

I wish I could have said something more meaningful here to convey how we all felt about you... to convey how much we loved you... but I cant...

I am going to go watch some Shameless for you and have a great laugh...


I will miss you buddy...


Thank you, Niv

There you were; quietly supporting Razz. You were part of a uniquely sacred time and you deserve our gratitude and praise.

I did an early post about how my dad helped a gay friend die from AIDS in the 90s. His story and that funeral gave me an appreciation of death, as odd as that sounds. I think in time you may have the same insights.

Perhaps the good die young, as cliched as that sounds.

About death, Razz had insights that both impress and amaze me.

On Jan. 12 he wrote: "we came to the conclusion that if one really look closely at why he/she fears death, it is really because of what lies after death. maybe a lot of you have already realised this, but i had never really thought much about this until this afternoon. some would say there is nothing after death, whilst others may be believe in the heavenly afterlife, or doomed one in hell. for now, i'm taking the middle ground and say that there is an afterlife, but an afterlife where we have control of its quality, just like this life. what form will we take? i don't know, and in the grander scheme of things, i don't think that would matter much. (is this just a version of the idea of reincarnation? must think about that some more.) the question i am pondering at the moment is why i chose this particular after-death scenario? i'll let you know when i have the answer, but for now, all i can say is that it was not to find some comfort from the promise of an afterlife. the idea of the afterlife essentially controlling what people do in this life (i.e. going to heaven or hell) does not sit well with me. i've always thought that if you want to be a nice person, do it for the sake of being nice; not because you want to ensure your place in heaven. i will not rant about this."

The other thing I like about Razz was his pride and joy to be a young gay man. His delightful combo of the ribald and sublime show a refreshing honesty that I admire.

Maybe Lifetime channel could do the Razz movie as the other side of Prayers for Bobby.

I'm sure ste and jay will see this blog. I can't begin to comprehend your loss and sadness. I'm sure you will remember the lessons he taught you and share his joy and zest for life as you go down life's pathways.

I'm going to tell the Razz/Chris story to our GSA group at my school.

For me that's a perfect tribute to Razz/Chris' self proclaimed "perfect life".

steevo in cali

Bad Day

I found out today that a mate from the UK has passed away.

He was 20 and died from complications related to cancer.

I’m a little bit numb from the news. I really don’t know how else to describe it.

Even though I only knew him for a short while, over the last few months, we chatted a lot and emailed a lot - almost daily. Despite what he was going though he was always positive and my role was to try and keep his mind off what he had to face every day in real life.

Don’t send me depressing emails, he told me once, obi-niv-wan, you’re my only hope.

It’s hard for me to express how close I felt to him, despite the fact that we lived on opposite ends of the world and across different timezones. He said at one point that I was like the older brother he never had. He was the younger brother I always wanted.

Chris made me appreciate life. He made me realise how short and fleeting it all is. He taught me the value of a good laugh and the meaning of courage. He was funny, witty, smart, caring and honest. He was one of the most beautiful people I’d ever met.

In a time when I was feeling detached and distant from the world around me, he’d managed to worm his way into my heart and make me feel again. And even though some of those feelings were of fear and worry and angst, it was only because he reminded me of friendship, and love and joy.

There’ll always be a part of me that will miss him.

Miss you, Chris. See you on the other side, mate.