“In loving memory of Akash”
Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear.
I tell the story sometimes of the day in March 2014 where I received confirmation that not only was UK internship visa application refused, but that I would not even see my passport again until I'd been escorted past security at Heathrow airport.
Not long after finishing the gloomy phone call with the Home Office, I received a message from Sky, who asked me where I was (I was strickenly shuffling around in Southwark), and did I want to meet for tea/coffee? I declined, because - and it remains true to this day - all engagement with those inhuman forces is profoundly and necessarily self-isolating. It's like holding a breath while navigating a narrow fatal-drop precipice - clenched diaphragm, tense muscles, functional detachment from the inner well of human feeling. In that state it is worthless for me to speak or be near to anyone. The forces are too meaningless and abstract, the actions to be taken too excruciating. Contact with others only reinforces aloneness.
But there has been one exception to this, and it was when Sky insisted: 'Tell me where you are, I'm coming'. So there we were, in a Costa somewhere, just sitting, and after a time I noted something deeply surprising: the ironclad solipsism of my existential state softening, a sensation of being less and less alone.
Sky remains the only person I've known who, against rationality, against the damnation of sober calculation, could nevertheless make me feel safe, protected by a force stronger and more expansive than me. If only for a moment - but for me it only takes that little bit, one in-and-out breath of optimism. I think. I'm not sure. But I know Sky would look me in the eye and insist it was true, and there is something eternal to that.
4 years ago we were running around London visiting the Tate modern (we got bored of it after half an hour) and then the London dungeons (for the millionth time) - I miss you Sky Sharma
3 years - no words - Sky Sharma 28/09/2015
This has never been more important to share!!! At the stroke of midnight it will be one of the worst days of the year - 3 years since you left this world - and I can’t be in London to sit by your tree for the first few hours of that day, I miss the freedom of being able to lay next to it at midnight on your birthday and this day and cry all I want - god I miss you Sky Sharma so much - 3 years and it’s no easier.
I'm looking at some of the facebook pictures being shared and they bring back memories....
How did Sky help me? There are different layers every time I think of that question (it's something I think a lot about from time to time). I think I already relayed the story about how Sky was there to sit with me right after I received the news that I'd soon have to live back in America. Even though I insisted I wanted to be alone, Sky insisted more strongly that he would just come briefly meet me at the coffee shop I was in. But then during our conversation, I began to actually feel better. I don't know how, it is one of the mysteries of Sky, but even in a crisis so intensely personal and isolating (i.e. losing one's place in life not because of anything human, but because of nationality documents) Sky could make you feel less alone. Even without being part of your story, Sky could speak an empathetic affirmation of your struggle.
And actually, as I read the quote about opinion vs. empathy that you shared along with Sky's picture (which I recognise so well, that is exactly as he dressed during my last months in London), I can think of a broader way in which Sky helped me and is still helping me. Sky modelled the sort of mythical empathy of great leadership--Sky could make every single person feel like they MATTERED, by the words he spoke and gestures he made.
And in a small way, Sky made me feel like I mattered. But in a BIG way, Sky demonstrated how it was possible to make others, even those just briefly met, feel like they mattered. How to speak to someone and powerfully affirm the legitimacy of the story they tell and the struggle you can see on their face.
In leadership, in politics, there is a cynicism concerning the qualities of people who lead and inspire: surely there must be a thread of falsity and manipulation when a leader or candidate is able to convince hundreds and thousands and millions of people that they care about those peoples' struggles and feelings in a personal way.
And that is obviously the case some of the time, or most of the time. But Sky alone of people I have known showed me that it does not have to be the case ALL of the time.
There are only a few things that can plunge me into deeper connection with my own empathy, and the strongest among these things is the memory of Sky. When I remember what Sky showed me, and I remember the feeling his caring gave me, both to receive and to witness, and I remember the piercing clarity of our conversations, I suddenly feel a hidden depth of conviction that rests in me like a column of water down to the floor of the deepest ocean, cool, liquid and alive.
If I ever find myself in a position of real leadership, or making a political speech, or holding any sort of responsibility for the wellbeing of others, it is the conviction of Sky that will course through me. And whenever I suddenly feel the urge to break from the currents of dust and stand firm in New York City (even in the tiniest way, like making sure one of my employees is treated fairly at work) it is the consciousness of Sky in me that reassures me I am doing the "right thing", that it is NOT silliness to hold conviction.
Sky helped me confront that universal feeling of humanity within, the root of what causes me to feel, and it is because of Sky that I stand sure that this force does not have to be feared. That I can--though it involves great struggle--embrace it and harness it as a force for good in the world.
That is one way Sky helped me, existing just as much today as it did three years ago.
I was going through a messed up situation which I'd rather just forget and he just sat down and just listened to me. That day me and ash became more then just 'someone I seen about'. He became someone I really respected and there's other ways he helped me too but I'd rather just keep it to myself. Xxx
No worries, well I guess the best way to describe how best sky helped me is by giving an example, what ever the situation no matter what happened or was going on with my own personal life when I called sky or if he was there Akash would talk to me and say don’t worry about it everything will be fine. But the best thing was Akash’s was always there to talk and someone to rely on and through the good times ash was there and was a great friend through it all
Heya yes all is well our trip to London was great yes I will definitely try to umm well sky was always listening and giving advice. It was always the best advice. He would always be at the end of the phone, text etc. Sky would also meet me at clapham and walk with me to uni. One day when I wasn't well he refused to let me get the train and drove me home. When I was in hospital sky gave me all the notes from the lessons. I miss him so much xx
The thing that hurts the most?
You have now become a memory, which I will cherish for the rest of my life. This isn’t what I had planned for us. We were meant to slay together, succeed together and follow our dreams together. Now I’m doing it all alone. And all I can do to keep me going, is the memory of you telling me that everything will be fine
Today is another bittersweet day
I have felt lost for most of it until I picked up my babies from school, and have done nothing but hug & hold them tight......... I wish they had known their uncle Akash/Sky.
I know you are completing your uncle duties up in heaven with Indiya, and that brings me more peace than anyone can even begin to comprehend, but you will always be missed dearly here on earth xxxxx
When I received the news of my impending self-deportation, Sky offered to meet me. I pressed away - I did not want company, I could not imagine togetherness offering anything more powerful in this moment than the inherent mocking irony of my present agony: that it itself - the togetherness - would soon be cut away from the tissue of my soul.
But Sky insisted, and Sky said “Where are you going to be?”, and there was Sky meeting me in a Costa somewhere in Southwark.
And Sky’s presence made me feel better. Sky alone, no one else would’ve done.
When Sky smiled, the air in the room grew warmer. And when Sky laughed, the room would sparkle, its colours intensify, its dimensions relax, like a contented exhale.
You would feel yourself in that room, right there, present as if all existence were contained in it.
For Sky’s laugh, sly humour, mirthful sense of play - whenever it came out, it came in triumph like nothing else I have ever felt.
I have never seen anyone else laugh like that while holding so much pain.
I have never met anyone with a pain like mine, recognisable, who proved it by understanding me, asking me the sorts of questions that I’ve never heard formulated anywhere else, except in my own mind, to myself, in secret. I have never met anyone with a pain like mine, so recognisable, but so much greater, so much more powerful.
And so powerfully battled! To be in the presence of Sky, the presence of a pain like a vast dark sea beneath the smaller vessel of my own, and to witness that laugh, that lifting of his face into an expression of weightless fun and hope, the fierce gleam in his eye - the joy of “aha! I’ve done it, haven’t I?” - that gave me a confidence like nothing else has ever done.
If Sky could laugh, then I too could laugh. If Sky could keep open his massive lion heart like that, grinning broadly as if the skewers weren’t even there, then how could I possibly fear or be embarrassed of the desires of my own? If Sky could bear it, so could I. Indisputable, this fact, when Sky laughed.
With Sky on this earth, I felt safe in my heart.
I miss you, Sky. I’ve felt a lot of things recently that I think you’d understand. I think a lot of what I’ve felt, you understood already back then. I wish I could talk to you now. I’d like to imagine that what I could share now, that I couldn’t then, would make you feel better. I always liked listening when you opened up about what hurt. I really liked it. It made me feel better, less alone, and it made you feel better too - I saw it on your face! I miss you.
While 2 years has passed I'm not sure where the time has gone....Feels unreal that all this has happened. I hope you watch over all we do and know that everything is in your name. Maybe it helps us to know you leaving us was not for nothing. Even though we have not got your presence of you anymore we can feel close to you somehow. I know you are not far but I wish you was that inch closer. I just miss you Ash, I really do. X
Two years my friend. Not the same without you. But don't worry. ..I know you'll be looking down and partying with me on Saturday like you always did for my birthday.
2 very long and very painful years without you. And I know it won’t get easier. I’ve changed so much since you left. I became confused, lost and angry that he took you away from me. You were the person who kept me in line, sane and sure in what I wanted in life. You taught me how to love myself, be confident with who I am and always show people WHO I AM. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. You were my best friend, my soul mate and my guidance in life. You were the smartest most amazing person I knew and I looked up at you so much. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about you. Every lonely drive, I cry thinking of you and how we used to drive around in pjs. I still remember your laugh, and your smile and your smell. I love you Ash. And I always will.
2 years since you left and yet it feels like no time at all - you spent your life making others happy even though you were hurting so much inside - we did so much in our years at university fighting against the stigma of mental health in society, fighting so that both of us could exist in a world who might one day understand us, but for you that day was too far away, the journey to get there too painful, and I get it, god knows I get it, but selfishly I wish you could of stayed Sky Sharma I love you always.
Sky, I can't believe it's been 2 years since you left!! I miss you soo much. I know we weren't friends for long but you were such a wonderful person and made such a huge impact on my life it was like I'd known you forever. I miss our chats and messages and your spontaneous visits. So much has happened in the last 2 years and I wish you had been there in person, not just spirit. I know you are looking out for me and when I miss you most you come to see me in my dreams. I hope I am doing you proud!! Miss you. Love you always XXXX
Graduated 2017 - Today I graduated, and I have got 100% drunk, had 100% fun and lived every moment, but nothing can replace that absence that is Sky, I love you, and I miss you every single day, i felt you today as I walked the stage with you hand on my shoulder watching over me - today was for both of us, without you this would not have been possible, I look forward to telling my children about their uncle sky in heaven, their own personal guardian angel watching over them. So many times I almost gave up, so many times I remembered our promise "I refuse to sink", I understand that you couldn't go on, I understand completely, but I finished it for us, today on the 21/07/2017 WE graduated, our promise was done, we didn't sink, you held me up when I was destroyed , and I held you in my heart as I walked across that stage - sky you are my family - always and forever - I love you - Anya Maria Watt
Sky Sharma so 6 years ago today 2017 we became friends. When I met you I had no idea that it would turn out this way, that you'd become my best friend, my teacher, my idol and my hero. And I surely didn't think I'd ever loose you like this. Sadly you left, and when you did, you took a big piece of my heart with you. But, I will never regret the fact that you were in my life. Ever. You taught me so much. You taught me how to be myself, how to love myself and how to be creative. You taught me how to give happiness to others and how to be happy. But most importantly, you taught me the true meaning of friendship. You were like my soul mate and You were the brother figure I never had. You showed me right from wrong and you kept me safe and made me feel loved. You were there when all my boyfriends broke up with me you were there when I had family problems, you were there when I needed you, and for that my friend, you will always have a very special place in my heart. I miss you and it still hasn't sunk in that your gone. It's been nearly 2 years and I speak and think about you every single day. So happy friendavrssary. r.i.p Sky. I love you
As I sat on the train back from Ilford, staring out the window, I perceived a sense of darkness in front of my eyes - almost visual, like seeing a massive broken form, deeply hidden in shadow. And I recognised this as a dark space of Sky's loss within me.
Today, is exactly one year since you left me Akash. It has been the hardest year of my life.
I think about you every day and night.
Life and living is not the same anymore. My heart is broken.
I remember the day you were born, god had sent you as my miracle child, I was on top of this world, the proudest mother on earth.
As you grew older you were my life and soul of this family keeping us all amused and entertained.
I look at your room it is now an empty shell, I miss your voice, miss you calling out to me "mum I am hungry, mum I need this".
Your fascination and love for nature and the outdoor life, being around everyone gave you greatest pleasure, helping a stranger putting a smile on their face, you were a people's person adored and loved by all.
Every son is special, you were my special SON.
I love you. I miss you so much.
I hope you are giving so much joy and spreading love in heaven as much as you did here on earth.
I know I haven't seen you my son past year so what. But I know deep down my heart you my son are coming back soon but before you come back I want you to have one to one with all mighty you are the only person I know can do it don't spare him make them laugh and smile like you did on planet earth it's your gift from God give it back to him see what he does I know you as a beautiful soul and a son I am a person who's been learning all his life
But to live without a son trying to learn Don't think I'll ever learn that perhaps don't want to first time in my life I am lost on this planet earth as soon as you come back everything will be alright. And again I know you're coming back in my family so sure. God will have to think twice not sending you back missing you your dad now you look after ur self and each other in heaven as we are trying to look after each other on planet earth see you soon
In loving memory of my "baby brother" Akash. It's been a year, yet it feels like yesterday that God called you home. Your time on earth was much to brief. Yourlife was just beginning when you were taken from us so suddenly. I miss you terribly & know that one day we will be reunited in heaven. I am sending all my love & prayers until we meet again. You are forever a part of my soul and my being. I love you! X
I can't quite believe this has been a year, I know it was yesterday but I didn't know what to say. I have missed you more than anything. This has honestly been the hardest year but I am starting to feel more positive, I have finished my degree, started my teacher training and even got married. I just wish you were with me for these or lending support. I miss you soo much every single day, I can only hope you are at peace and singing where ever you may be. Miss you always Sky Xxxx
One year today ???? You're always going to be in our prayers and wherever you may be, I hope that you have found peace. So many peoples worlds were shattered justhearing those words. Although you have left us with memories that we will cherish forever, it's just so difficult to accept. It feels like it was only yesterday when we were walking down Southall when you were like 15, and somehow you found your way into every musical shop there was. But maybe we'll bump into each other one day, so we can have another competition of who can hold the longest note. Rest easy Akash Sharma.
If I ever want to see you, I need only look up and remember. I might forget for a while and sometimes, well, sometimes I try to ignore you. When it's dark and cold winds cut though me the last thing I want to do is look up and remember you - you who were so warm and gentle alone in that cold dark space. But even the darkest nights precede the dawn, the coldest winters give way to summer. Then I can look up and remember. I can remember the good; the laughter; the music and adventure. I can remember you and the silence isn't so heavy, your absence not so great. Because the Sky is everywhere - he is eternal.