Michael was killed by a hit and run driver while we were on holiday together in, Antequera, Spain, on the 3rd April 2003. Michael being an experienced and good long distance runner went for a training run, he always did when we went away. He set out at about 5pm on a glorious warm afternoon, while I rested in our hostel room. Michael told me he would only be forty minutes.
Michael was killed on a road that hardly had any traffic, a quite country road, very flat and straight, with beautiful scenery ahead of him and fields on either side. It was used often by other runners and power walkers. Michael was running on the left-hand side of the road, towards the oncoming traffic. A car travelling in the opposite direction (on the right hand side) for some reason, swerved across the road into the left-hand lane hitting Michael, (from behind or the side of him). The driver did not stop, instead he made his escape through the fields, leaving Michael lying in a field 10 meters from the road surface, not visible to other road users. Michael was not found until the following day, 4th April, by the farmer that owned the field, at which time Michael had died from his injuries. The car was found 3km away from where Michael’s body was found, the driver had tried to hide the car, and removed the registration plates in order to try and conceal his identity. The Spanish police know the driver’s identity and that of the passengers that are believed to have been in the car, they have been unable to locate them so far.
I was told of Michael’s death on the afternoon of the 4th April. A police inspector came to the hostel where Michael and I were staying. Even though I had spent a night in absolute turmoil, not knowing where Michael was, I was not prepared to hear what was about to be said to me, I remember looking behind the inspector expecting to see Michael, looking tired and weary, saying ‘you wouldn’t believe what happened’. Instead the inspector told me, ‘We have found your friend, I am afraid his dead’.
That was a year and a half ago and it still seems like yesterday, my life stopped then. I was quite hysterical when they told me, I felt pain, anger and just lost all sense of reality. Michael was alive and healthy and now his dead. How can anyone make sense of that? I wanted to end my life to, if it wasn’t for my family, I know I would have.
The first 6 months after Michael’s death were spent trying to obtain as much information as possible about Michael’s death, which to this day is proving very difficult. I wanted to lay in bed all day and hide away, but I couldn’t, I had to keep strong for Michael, to try and do all that I could to get justice, looking back I do not know how I got through it. I was in a complete haze most of the time, I felt completely numb and empty. I would wake in the mornings momentarily forgetting what had happened, I would look across to the other side of the bed, where Michael should have been and it hit me, a pain that is so intense, there are no words to describe. I could smell him on the bed sheets, his things were all around me. I hardly cried, because when I did the pain was too much. I did not even cry at the funeral, I felt completely detached from it all, it couldn’t be real.
Now, a year and a half after Michael’s death, the pain is still there as intense as ever. I still cannot bring myself to unpack Michael’s rucksack, or remove his clothes from our wardrobes and draws, I have not even been back to the cemetery since his funeral, a part of me still cannot accept what’s happened, the reality of it is too much to bear. Michael was such a special, caring and gentleperson, I want the person or persons that did this to know what a special person they took.
It angers me when people refer to Michael’s death as an ‘accident’ Michael was doing what he did every day, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, if he had tripped and fell, that would be an ‘accident’. Why does society automatically presume that when a person is killed by a car, that it is an accident? In my eyes Michael was murdered, they did not use a gun or knife, they used a car as the weapon.
I am sure some people expect me to be ‘over it’ by now, I know I never will be. I am fully aware that life goes on, I just do not feel a part of it. I will laugh in front of people, and join in conversations and I am steadily bit-by-bit trying to make plans for my future (I have not been able to go back to work yet). It doesn’t mean that the pain has gone.
I feel part of me has gone forever. I have lost the feeling of excitement and real happiness. I used to get excited about the future, our future together, the two of us growing old together. I have days when I feel stronger, where I can cope and do certain everyday things, and there are days or weeks where I feel I am in black hole. I feel that there is no point to life, getting up and showering is a chore. There is not a day or a minute that goes by that I do not think of Michael, what would we be doing, what would he say. I always imagine him still with me, by the side of me, encouraging me to go on. I like to think that he has given me strength to carry on, I know he would worry about me.
I miss Michael intensely, my partner, my friend. My love for him is as strong as ever, that is something that can never be killed or taken away. It’s not the same as him being here, but it is all that I have now.