I am going to stray a bit here and I will apologise for that from the start. This post will probably come across as a bit of a personal therapy session but please bear with me.
Within the last 10 months I have had to attend two funerals, which may not seem noteworthy i the grand scheme of things, but both were for young women who passed away way before their time and in very sad circumstances.
My lovely niece Risha, was 26 years old and in the prime of her life. My cousins live in Arizona and although I had not spent a lot of time with Risha, she was very much loved. My sister and I were lucky enough to have been able to spend some time with her and her family In 2018 when we went to a family friend’s wedding.
Heidi was my college mate, we met when we were 18 and spent probably the next 20 years hanging out together, going on holidays, partying, christmasing, laughing and crying together, and then supporting each other through break ups and divorces.
We had not seen each other much more recently but things just get in the way sometimes.
I am not really sure where I am going with this post and what I am trying to say, but it will come clear at some point!
Risha’s passing was definitely a catalyst for my embarking on my current travels, I thought that it was such a waste of a young life and that I should be doing more with mine instead of just living the usual life that is expected of us – work, home, routine etc.
Neil, a friend of mine (actually my finance person who has always encouraged my plans) has always said that we never take the time to just “be”, to stay still take the time to appreciate what we have around us, not to fret about what you can’t control or something that may or may not happen at some point in time.
It’s at times like these that we tend to say that life is short, or that we should value people more, or that we need to decide what is important to us and I do agree with that but, how sad is it that we only think like that when something sad or tragic happens? We all say it but does it actually sink in?
When I was told about Heidi, the first thing that I wanted to do was be with “the girls”, to share the grief with those who were feeling the same . That feeling of wanting support from those who are feeling similarly is an odd one, I remember the last time that I felt like that is when Simon and I separated, but he was the only one that would be feeling the same (I don’t think he would have been happy with that!) and so I just had to get on with it. This time it was different, the comfort I got from sharing my grief was invaluable and I think we all valued what we have as a group of friends.
We have said that we need to see each other more and generally be better at keeping in touch and I am sure that will happen, but how long will that last for? Family, work, general life takes over and then we all go back to the way it was. Is that bad though? I mean that it is like 2 steps forward and then one back, we won’t go back to exactly how it was before – when we just got together on occasions, but possibly be in contact a little bit more. All the talk about seeing each other more with families, partners etc, will convert into action but then will settle back down slightly – BUT that is better than nothing, right?
Also, it is such a shame that people only realise how people felt about them when they die. I know that is a blunt statement! I suppose that it would be very strange if we went around telling everyone we knew that we appreciate them and that we would miss them – but why not?!
My thought is that as humans, we just want to love and be loved – in all its’ guises – I do think that it is as simple as that. We strive for money, fame, material goods, recognition and success but at the end of the day, what are you left with? I am sure that many will disagree with me but that is only my view.
Neil introduced me to a book called “The Path of No Resistance: Why Overcoming is Simpler Than you think” by Garret Kramer. In this book, the author is trying to say that we already know deep down, what we need to allow us to prosper and become resilient. What we already have what it takes ‘to excel and give back to others’.
I am not sure if this sort of situation is what he was talking about but 2 points I have taken interest in are;
- You cannot control your thinking – The human mind is designed to effortlessly replace stale thinking with insight. If you obstruct this process by trying to continually think positively, you will perpetuate struggle and confusion.
- Stay in the game – What happens when you sit on the sidelines and think yourself into a troublesome experience? It grows and grows. Strategically pausing to figure out or fix a dysfunctional mind set only holds the dysfunction in place. Rather, the key to overcoming adversity is to stay in the game and allow your psychological immune system to clear the dysfunction. Answers will then find you. Success or failure, every experience is guiding you inwards – where resilience truly exists.
Facing the loss openly and being in the moment of it all, not trying to push away the grief is what I am doing. This may not be what Garret Kramer was really talking about but I think that learning from these situations, allowing my mind to realise for itself what is or isn’t important to me, is the way to go. That way I am not ‘deducing’ what I should be feeling or doing by using what is considered the social norm, and by acting in what others might consider an acceptable way.
Wow – sorry – this has been an all over the place post! I suppose what I am saying is that I am trying to work out what is important for me, to inform what I am going to do in the next few years and not to overthink about what I should be doing. Trying to get something good out of these difficult and tragic situations.
Also, it is a way of letting people know how valuable they are to me. Don’t underestimate the power of friendship in any form- cliche yes, but true.