When someone you care about dies you go through many stages of grief. Disbelief, anger and immeasurable sadness. Then you feel more anger in the pit of your soul. It’s not fair. It shouldn’t have happened. It’s simply not fucking right. Guilt creeps in. We should’ve made that coffee date happen. Why did I miss that party? We never went for that walk together. You feel shame for missed opportunities and taking life for granted.
The anger builds up so much and weaves through the sadness and starts to suffocate you. You feel so overwhelmed by the bitterness that you push it from you you, lock it away and run. You run so fast you try and pretend that it didn’t happen. That the person you long for is still alive…somewhere.
You dig into your memory bank and slowly replace the spitefulness at the world with snippets of joy. You remember moments when you least expect them. Walking home from work. Getting your haircut. Washing the kids’ hair. Reaching to get milk out of the fridge in the supermarket. As each day passes you push the fact that they died further and further away for fear the reality will eat you up. And then out of nowhere, up pops their smiling face. You see them standing in a crowd or you look for them at the school gate or crane your neck over a fence thinking you heard them. People start to look like them. And for fleeting moments you let yourself believe that are have not gone away, that they are still with you.
This refusal to let them go keeps you going for awhile until you remember that are not coming back and then you miss them. You long to have one more bear hug. You wish for one more cheeky comment and guttural laugh. You wish to see that sparkle in their eyes. You long to see the Facebook photos of their lazy days spent with their family, playing tunes and dancing.
They have not gone on holidays, like you’ve been tricking yourself to believe. You go back over old posts and fill your mind with images and words that were shared. You sob when your new phone wipes all your old text messages.
While you’d tricked yourself into thinking they would be coming home, you’d been storing up things to tell them. Who will I tell these things too, things that only they’d get? You feel that anger rising and you don’t want to feel that anymore. You don’t want that emotion to be the one you feel whenever you think of your friend. You don’t want it to be sadness either. Instead, you want to feel close to them and remember how they made you feel when you were with them.
You start telling them stuff. You say it in your head, in the hope that they can somehow hear you. Little things like: “Hey, I listened to the new Alabama Shakes album today, I reckon you’d love it.” or “OMG did you see that hilarious story on the Daily Mail?” or “I went to that new hipster coffee shop on Goody road, it’s got delicious brownies”. It makes you feel closer to them, but it’s not anything like the real thing.
And then you see one of their gorgeous children in class with one your girls and they are dancing together. Their smiles are wide and look so very happy. And they are doing all the actions so beautifully and you want to shout into the universe. “Can you see them honey? Can you see? Look how cute they are. Look at our babies.” You want to kick the ground and pull down the sky and reach right into the depths of the world and pull her back to us so she can be standing right there next to me, smiles on our faces, watching our babies dance together. And you can’t.
Now, I whisper when I see her face: “I miss you, please come back now”.
This is my message board to you my friend. And today my message is short. “I saw your babies at the park with your amazing girlfriends they were playing in the sandpit and patting a cute dog. They were smiling. Your friends are doing an amazing job and that husband of yours, man he is a good man, but you knew that. We all miss you so very much.”
Have you got a message for someone? You can leave it here.
This can be our message board of love.