SURVIVING THE MEMORIES SITE FOR SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

MEMORIAL FOR A FRIEND

aJames Christopher Raw...He Will Forever Be Missed
 
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**Newspaper Clippings**

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When times were bad and I would cry,
He'd be my sunshine in the sky,
When I felt lonely, all on my own,
He'd sit and listen, never moan,
He was always there
and I knew how much he cared.

When life was bad and cruel to me,
He'd hold my hand and there he'd be,
When everyone would get me down,
He'd take me out and change my frown,
He was always there,
and I knew how much he cared.

The day he left I could only cry,
I never got to say goodbye,
My best friend through thick and thin,
When I needed help, I needed him,
He was always there,
and I knew how much he cared.

Where's he gone? I want him back,
My life has shattered, every crack,
He was the one who made me smile,
For anyone, he'd walk a mile

But I know he's still around,
He's just sitting on a cloud,
Even though he's not on earth,
For every thought, my life is worth,

When I think that days are dull,
He's there for me, he's my angel,
He watches me, makes sure I'm fine,
If I need to talk he makes the time.

When times were bad and I would cry,
He'd be my sunshine in the sky,
When I felt lonely, all on my own,
He'd sit and listen, never moan,
He was always there,
and I knew how much he cared.

"Goodnight, Sweet Prince"

"For here we have no continuing city,

but seek one to come"

 

The moment that I saw you
we were only very young
I knew that we'd be friends forever
the 2 of us were 1.

From being little kids
to our teenage years
we shared our secrets,
hopes and dreams,
we even shared our fears.

We told each other stories
we even went for walks
when we felt upset or down
we'd have sweet, caring talks.

"Gem, you know I love you!"
you'd tell me as I cry
"you know I love you too" I'd say
and best friends never lie.

As teenagers you'd take me out
they thought I was your gal
little did they know
I was just your bestest pal.

In the summer we'd spend each day
enjoying our time together
you'd chase me round, you'd make me laugh
no matter what the weather.

I remember when you went to uni
you were so excited
your whole life ahead of you
no-one knew you like I did.

Just 3 weeks later I got a call
to say you'd left for good
and from that day I knew I'd lost
my best friend from childhood.

The days go by and life goes on
and not a second I dont think
about my friend who cared for me
he is my missing link.

The day I saw you lying still
you were only very young
I knew my friend had gone forever
'Us 2' is back to one"

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~ His Story As Told By A Friend ~
 
   James was a “nice” guy ~ one of those guys you’re great friends with but wouldn’t wanna date. One of those guys who always goes on about how girls just wanna be friends with him but won’t be his date. He was the kinda guy your mom would adore and the only guy I have ever met who was genuinely caring, kind and would go right out of his way for anyone, friend or stranger! Of course he had his downsides too. He could be moody and when he wanted something he’d go for it, nothing would stand in his way. That included girls! I first met James when I was about 7 years old, his parents owed the field at the back of my parents house and my dad had taken me down to go on the swing hanging from an old tree. James and his dad has appeared and said how I could go down and play on the swing any time I liked... I don’t remember much else from that…the next memory of him I have is when I was 12 him and his family (mom, dad and little brother) moved into the house at the end of our road. Still owning the field they also moved in all their animals chickens, horses, sheep, geese they’ve had so many over the years…and that’s another thing about James he was just so gentle and kind with people as well as animals.
 
  James was a couple of years older than me so as a 12 year old girl I thought it was the best thing on earth to have a older boy as a friend…then my dreams came true when I found out he actually fancied me!! If we ever got together it was a one week kiddie relationship….he was becoming more like a brother to me than anything and you don’t wanna go round kissing your brother!!
   Because I lived at the top of a street on a hill and he lived at the bottom he’d walk up to my house pretty much everyday, everyone down our street would joke about him coming up to see me “again” ~ everyone made little comments about how he had this huge crush on me, and if I was honest, I knew it too but we were friends, his mom and mine use to talk about how it was lovely how we had a “brother sister” relationship. As we grew older together he was there for me through so many things… at 14 I was raped and although I never told him exactly what happened he knew something wasn’t right... he often said I could always run to him when things got too much, he knew I was having a hard life and he was always there for me…by the time I was 15 he was the only male I could trust and every ounce of trust I put into him!

   I remember once playing monopoly with him and some of the other kids down our street, in typical “me” style I had no idea how to play and he was teaching me as we went along. I stopped and asked why on earth we were buying “Angel Street” as I had no idea what the point of the game was. He just leant over and whispered in my ear “to go with the one sat next to me!”…I have never blushed so much!

   By the time James was 18 he was ready to go off to uni, being a couple of years younger I was still at school doing my exams. We’d never gone to the same school so it wouldn’t be that much of a change, he’d often wait for me at the bus stop to walk home together which I’d miss but hopefully he’d be home from uni most weekends so I’d get to see him then and catch up.
 
   I didn’t get to say goodbye when he went off to university, I was up to my eyes in exam work and we’d just never gotten round to arranging anything. It didn’t matter because he’d be home soon enough and I knew there was no way he’d stop coming up to my house to see me, and give everyone something to joke about!

   One Thursday I remember I’d been at school ~ most lunchtimes we went to the local supermarket to get some lunch, I was suffering badly with my eating disorder at the time and would make excuses not to buy anything, usually looking at the days newspapers while my friends bought food. This day for some reason we hadn’t gone, this was unusual to say the least but I have no memory of why we’d decided not to go out that day. (I later discovered that James was plastered all over the front of ever paper there, all the ones I would have looked at if we had gone to the shop that lunchtime!) It was raining and I’d gotten the train home after school, seeing as I lived a while away from the train station my parents sometimes picked me up when it rained but this day they hadn’t so I was having to walk home in the soaking rain. As I got near to the end of my street I noticed a couple of dark coloured cars parked outside James house. I think I instantly knew the truth at that moment, I remember feeling my stomach flip out and just sink to my feet but I refused to let myself think about it or believe my fears. I reasoned with myself that maybe he was home from uni early. Then I saw a few lads about his age get out of the car, all wearing dark suits. I had no explanation for this, just tried to assume some friends had popped round to see him on their way back from a formal event of some kind.
 

I turned up our street and into my drive, as I walked in the back door of my parent’s house my dad appeared in the kitchen…I remember knowing even then but fighting to stop those fears become real. I was all ready to get mad at my dad for making me walk home in the rain but something just wouldn’t let me speak.

   My dad said “so, have you heard the news”
 
   Again I knew the thoughts were thumping at my head but I was refusing to listen “what news?” I said back to him still stood there dripping wet with all my school books in my bag pulling down on my shoulder.
 
 “About James?!”…. I remember so vividly standing in the kitchen of my parents house at that moment thinking over and over ‘please let him be ok, please say he’s ok, in hospital is fine, just broken a leg or something but give him chance to pull through, whatever it is please let him be ok’ even though all my senses were telling me otherwise I would NOT believe it!
“He’s died”
 
After that there was a silence that seemed to last a lifetime….I didn’t know what to do, my whole mind just stopped, I went completely blank and all I remember was looking at my dad and pulling a face that said ‘ooh that’s terrible’ but the kinda thing you’d do about someone who you’d only ever heard about, not someone you considered almost a brother!

I turned round and walked the few steps to put my still soaking wet bag in the airing cupboard to dry and it was then that it all hit me, I just burst into tears. My dad came over and hugged me, the only time my dad has ever hugged me without being told to and the only time in the whole world I have ever seen him cry. I looked up at him and I could see in his eyes that he was thinking “thank god it wasn’t you!”

After that everything was a blur but I found out that James and his uni friends had planned a night out. They’d hired a double decker bus and gone to a club. They were coming home to their uni campus on the same bus when at 2:30am it had crashed.
James had been stood by the front window; there were too many people on that bus for them all to have seats and knowing James I would bet my life that he had stood up to let someone else sit down! The bus had come to a crossroad and from what his friends said had gone straight through the red light, a huge truck had been coming from one side of the crossroad and smashed straight into the bus, flinging James head first out of the front window only then to be driven over and crushed by either the bus or the truck. He would have died instantly but the damage to his body was also unbelievable.

Out of the 83 or more people on that bus, James was the only one who died. A couple of others had minor injuries and most of them had shock, but James... MY James was the only one to be taken!!

When the time came round to identify his body his dad went down to do the horrible job, when he got there he was warned about the state of his son’s body and he just couldn’t do it. So they had to send forensic guys to come take finger prints from his bedroom at home to identify him! There was a packed church at his funeral, so many people turned up they had to stand at the back as there were no seats left. I was also invited with his mom, dad and brother to a service his friends held at the university he went to, I went and met his friends, what meant the world to me was how they all knew instantly who I was. Said he’d never shut up about me and how he’d wanted to bring them all home to meet me!!

A few weeks after the funeral when his parents went back to his uni to tidy out his room they found three letters sealed but not posted, one was a birthday card for his dad, one a birthday card for his little brother and another one for me… It was a letter he’d written me. In the letter he talks about how they were sat around the table decided on the arrangements for a night out… that very night that killed him!!

He was only 18 when he died and it was exactly 2 weeks before my 16th birthday, he never got to take me out on the millennium New Years Eve like he’d promised and he never got to turn 21.
 
   At the court hearing both drivers were let off due to insufficient evidence. I hate the fact that no-one took the blame for something that has ripped apart so many lives but I hope that which ever one of them caused that accident is living a life sentence from knowing they killed the sweetest most caring guy I have ever known.

James Christopher Raw
03rd August 1981 ~ 21st October 1999
 
 
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