The Missing Link

The last few weeks have been tough.

First and foremost, it’s okay to not be okay.

A few weeks ago, I had a phone call to tell me that a long term friend of mine had died.

After seeing him a few days before, It was inevitable but so soon was still a shock.

Now understandably it’s sad when anyone dies, but to give you the context as to why it was so significant to me is that he’d been like a father figure for me for over 20 years, considering my actual dad passed away in 1996.

J and J

Since then not only had he looked after me, but my friends over the years were also subject of his kindness, generosity and constant words of encouragement.

When it comes to my radio career, he was the person that forged the path in 2003 for me to be able to sit behind a desk, learn my craft and present a show. He’d be the one to tell me, “that sounded good” or “that was brilliant” whether it be about a song or some quip I’d said about an artist. That continued over time and as I spread my wings and moved away from just presenting on hospital radio where I started, I’d still get similar messages at whatever station I was representing.

They were always messages of support, a kind of a comfort blanket if you like.

So what happens when a person like that falls silent on your phone, drops down the list of text messages and doesn’t appear in your notifications on social media.

Nothing happens. And that’s been the toughest part of these last few weeks.

A few days after his death, I plucked up the courage to front a tribute show (link below) in the slot that had been his on Radio Glamorgan for many years. It was tough but you know when so many people come together to honour one man, you know the support is there.

I’ve been able to go to work (all my colleagues have been 100% brilliant) and I’ve been able to talk openly to my friends and family about various things, but I haven’t been able to text or phone to tell the one person I really want to, about aspects of my life that he’d naturally be so chuffed to hear about whatever the news.

A few weeks ago, a few days before my 28th birthday it was his funeral.

In front of a packed out crematorium, I delivered a eulogy which some said was “brave”, and “courageous” to do but whatever anyone else said I wanted to do it for him.

Don’t misunderstand me, behind closed doors I’ve been a mess at times despite showing a stern side and keeping it together in the public eye.

The day of the funeral though was my final ‘thank you’ in front of the masses for the dedication to everyone who knew him and I’m hoping he would’ve been looking over ‘congratulating’ me for doing what I did as if he would on that text message or a phone call.

Goodnight and “Cheers” you ultimate legend. x

John Wilce


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