Haunted Geography - Nic Hughes - absence-presence.co.uk – absence-presence.co.uk
absence-presence.co.uk Rotating Header Image

Haunted Geography – Nic Hughes


On Monday I learnt the sad news of the loss of a dear and special man, Nic Hughes.

Husband, Father, Designer, Thinker, Inspiration, and Friend… Nic will be sorely missed by those that had the joy of knowing him and his easy smile; a smile which invited; a smile which spoke of warmth and sensitivity; a smile of intelligence, wit and wisdom.

I first heard of Nic’s diagnosis in June, a rare cancer of the gall-bladder, (rare indeed, and yet coincidentally, has recently torn a huge hole through the fabric of my own family.. Rachel’s Mother, my dearly missed mother-in-law…)

Nic spoke about his coming to terms with, coping, and resolutions with this vicious disease. He spoke eloquently… with clarity and wisdom; and a grace which I can hardly comprehend. He wrote,

“Fourscore years and ten is a luxury, a western conceit. Yet more than anything else I want to see my kids grow up and go grey with my wife. Sadly this is not to be. Our life envelopes have coincided for such a short time and it is painful to imagine separation. However, I am locked in the now and will take what I can.

We all have a contract with finitude and share the same destiny. There are so many diversions and schemas that navigate this fact. Hard as it seems, we have to acknowledge that each of us at the table will eventually be part of the meal. We will eventually become echoes in the ‘field-of-beings’. It is the paradox of the ‘me’ and the ‘we’, the journey made alone and together.”

The Full text (18june2012) is found here

I knew Nic for many years, although time and distance, and such ridiculous distractions, meant that we never drew as close as I would have wished. A friendship and respect, of ‘knowing that out there are people who think in similar ways’, a comfort, a togetherness, a distance and space in conversation.

There are many much closer to him, whose grief will be acute and long-lasting, and most tragically his beautiful family; but the grief here at this desk is raw and angry, sad and broken.

Nic was an inspiration, who saw the world from different perspectives, who elicited new language. We spoke warmly together of Silence and Loss, of the Apophatic space of Love that beguiled and confused us. We shared the places of darkness and light in humanity – expressed through music, film, art and design. Together we spoke a kindred language that could recognise the aching sorrow, the hushed whispers, the dazzling darkness, the interrogation of silence.

I saw in Nic, a man who was open to experience. A man with courage enough to let experience guide his worldview, who resisted dogma and entrenchment, who recognised and embraced the flux, the nuance, the changes, and the questions. I saw in Nic a man who allowed the darkness to inform and bring shadows to the light, and the light to reveal the dark hushed corners, the full breadth of life and existence.

In these; I saw Nic as a man fully alive; a man who enriched me and many others, who created great art and design, who changes the texture and space of the environment around him… there are so many things I would still have liked to say, so many conversations yet to be had…

The times we did spend together, revelling in our love of music, art and literature, were life-giving. Songs of praise against a cold-grey sky of banality. There is a special place in our hearts for those with whom we click – who see the world and traverse similar contours on the way. Nic was one such person.

Is it any wonder we rage against the dying of the light? For now we are left with the space, the memory, the treasure. A vacant gap in the fabric of the universe, never repeated. And family in loss and mourning. Sooz, Jake and Summer, may the love of those around you, and the ongoing tears and love and thoughts of those afar, bring comfort and strength through the times to come.

Nic I will miss you, and cherish your memory in equal measure; thank you for all you have given to so many. Be at peace.

With love,

Gary x

Leave a Reply