A Letter To My Younger Self: Benjamin May from The New Normal


The future is hard, and your heart will be broken albeit not in a conventional way. The loss of our dad, our best friend, will be the toughest heartbreak we will suffer.


The arrogance of our youth will fade, and the path is set to change as we evolve from a boy into a man. So for that journey let me tell you some things you’ll need to know to help ready you for what lay ahead.


First and foremost, you must understand one thing. Keep this and never let it go for the moment you do will be the moment you fall.


Our broken heart will never mend. No amount of passing time will put together again the pieces, however, know that with time you will feel strong and you will feel love again.


With this in mind, we must remain positive. Alcohol and drugs will not help us through the darkest moments. Recognise the importance of keeping our mind clear of the toxins that only further cloud it. Think of the consequence of actions. What feels good on a Saturday night will push you to the limits come Tuesday. Realise the importance of keeping our head above the water.


Accept the positive changes in mindset and prepare for others do not understand. Someone we’ve once acknowledge as a close friend may find it hard to communicate with the new version of us. Perhaps they don’t know what to say or how to articulate their sympathy but remember your truest friends will find a way. Don’t be sad to let go of those who can’t. 


Find a positive outlet for the emotion. The sadness we feel needs an outlet and an escape. When that comes, when it arrives we must embrace it. Embrace the new version of us. It’ll feel strange, but this process will be the making of us.


Never stop talking about him. Remember him every day. Tell people who he was, what he did, how he laughed, how he loved, how he lived, the music he loved and the way he sang and danced to it. Do all you can to honour the memory of our best friend. And when it’s right, cry. Don’t be ashamed of the emotion and love we have and have had for him. Know it’s ok to feel every emotion we need to feel and to express it as positively as we can.


Finally, there is one last thing we must remember. No matter where we are, who we are with or what we are doing, do it positively and with and with an open mind. Though some days the pain feels never ending it’s in those moments we must remember how lucky we have been to have had our dad for the 30 years we had him. The man we love and who loves us back.


Your journey starts now.


The New Normal is a fledgeling charity, set up by friends Jack Baxter and Ben May to host ‘Good Grief’ meetings. 


Both Jack and Ben suffered the devastation of losing a parent as a young adult and over the preceding years have thrown themselves into fundraising for the two hospices who supported their fathers and families while they were ill. 

To date combined, they have raised over £60,000 but, inspired by the lack of support for young adults suffering with grief, have turned their attention to organising ‘good grief’ meetings, which enable young people to come together and talk about their loved ones and the impacts of their loss without fear, judgement and in a safe space with others who have had similar experiences.

Meetings are run bi-weekly within WeWorks in central London. For information on the upcoming events please check the Instagram @the_new_normal_chairty. 


Words: Ben May