May 11, 2018

Life’s belligerent symphonies finally cease

Crushingly sad news this morning. The body of Scott Hutchinson, singer of the wonderful Scottish rock band Frightened Rabbit, was found in Port Edgar.

His lyrics to their hauntingly beautiful Floating in the Forth now seem darkly prescient:

“Am I ready to leap,
is there peace beneath
the roar of the Forth Road bridge?”

I felt winded when I heard he was missing. You try to hold out hope, but something eats at you. The near-knowledge that the time for hope has passed, giving way to sadness, mourning, grief.

There is a degree of removal which eases things slightly – I never met Scott, he doesn’t move in my circles, and our contributions to each other’s lives were very much one sided – but for many around him this grief is full and real. I offer them my condolences, no matter how intangible.

The knowledge remains that the way he presumably felt is not unique. People around us suffer, often invisibly, from internal struggles. This has been brought home to me time and time again in the past 18 months, and it breaks my heart. The outpouring of emotion, wisdom, care and good feeling around Scott’s passing, both in the discussion of his tweet-come-suicide-note and beyond, reminds that willingness to help matches to counter these struggles. But the two don’t necessarily encounter each other.

Imagine the reluctance to ask for help if you feel that the things bothering you are signs of weakness, or invalid, or insurmountable. Imagine the isolation.

Remember that the signs of struggle can be subtle. They aren’t restricted by circumstance.

Let the people around you know that you are open to help, to discuss, or just to listen; to meet them more than half way; that there is no shame in asking for help, or sharing the things weighing you down. That, as Scott’s brother said so eloquently, “there’s nothing that is so insurmountable that we can’t figure it out together”.

Let us all follow Scott’s final advice: “Be so good to everyone you love … Please, hug your loved ones”.

So, to a man whose words touched my life in a beautiful way, and whose time was cut tragically short, I hope there is peace.