At this time of year, I am usually torn as I love the spirit of Christmas but equally feel the loss of my Mum. Knowing another year goes by where she will not be here share in the famliy get-togethers, meet her grandchild, see the extended family of those who are new in our lives.
I know this is all part of life and yet, my heart sinks and I want to hide away from seeing anyone. Smiling and being joyful takes up energy and I feel like I’m guilty of so many things like lying to others about how I really am inside or wondering when someone will ask me, “How am I doing?”. It’s so far and few between that I hear that question, that when I do it hits me hard and I well-up and still feel like I’m lying because I can’t really say, there are so many days where I feel empty, numb, where I don’t feel real or me anymore.
I’m sure the part of what I considered to be “love” died that day and what I feel now is not solid but fluid and transient. I’ve heard about so many losses recently car accidents, health related, suicide. And it hurts, I know it’s a part of life, it doesn’t make it easier to absorb. It still has a ripple affect.
I’m also dealing with a parent who has dementia and a shift in the condition. It’s so hard to hear practial words “this is life”, when all I want is someone to say “it’s okay, I’m here for you” and give me a hug.
Of course therapy helps, and a stranger who offers empathy is better than no one reading in between the lines. I guess that’s why a lot of people pay for their needs to be met on a basic level because they can’t get it on an every day level. Grand statement I know.
I met Brian, one of my dad’s neighbour’s over a year ago, an Irish school teacher with a great sense of humour. I was working as a runner on ‘Pistol’ which was shooting on the estate and the cameras were about to roll, he’d walked to his flat in his suit, and then came out 10 minutes later to have a cigarette. I ask him if he wouldn’t mind stepping out of view for a few minutes and he told me he needed to release his day with his only vice. I asked him his name, he said “Brian”, I said “I’m Maria, nice to meet you”.
After that day I saw him a number of times and stopped to chat. Brian was troubled and was kind enough to open up to me about many things, mental health, drinking, he’d had cancer, break-up of his marriage and not seeing his two daughters regularly which “were the world to me”. I remember him saying this a few times. We exchanged numbers and he kindly asked me if I needed him to pop in and see my dad, let him know. A couple of times I’d seen him smoking outside, we chatted, exchanged a few whatsapp messages. He sent me pictures of his daughters. The very last time I saw him at the beginning of the year, he was finding it difficult and I asked if I could give him a hug, he accepted. I said “I’m here”. He welled up and said thank you.
Yesterday, I found out he committed suicide and “he’d given up on life”.
My heart broke.
What comes to mind is a friend, Sandra, Da Millenial Coach who says “We cannot get the time back, once it’s gone, it’s gone”.
I hope Brian is at peace. This one’s for you and “Maybe Tomorrow, you found your way home“.