Friday, 13 December 2013

Smiling and crying

This week has brought my past and present to a sudden and stark reality.

There is the Christmas card from an old university friend with news of his son and a new country which has me looking back and grateful for our days of adventure and decisions, finding our feet in the world and embracing the privilege of education, freedom and camaraderie.

The death of the final goldfish last night who I've done my best to look after for my nephew during the three years since my brother and his family moved away. My nephew who sends the fish postcards and whose face smiles from my fridge door. He is my favourite and ever changing, ever growing person.

The farewell emails and chat from a group of much loved colleagues and the fantasy world of the theatre where we are transported from the everyday. A world I'll miss but that isn't as important as the call to action from an old friend, whose friendship stems from the values and early work experiences  that drove us both to work towards social justice and equal life chances. Next week, we begin again to work together to help create platforms from which those that need it can build strong roots and make their own way forward. A place where everyone has something to give and where together we can all do more. 

The email from the former lover, former friend that is pleasant and unexpected. The man who bore the brunt of the deepest, most difficult days in the form of my unpredictability, tears and neediness as I struggled to stay afloat. He had the ability to make me feel like a goddess and, laughing, read me William stories in bed. He gave much, and got little. And, eventually gave up. I don't blame him.

The phone call with a friend during which we both cry as she tells me about her mother's death and the haze she is trying to find her way through. There is no true preparation for this loss. No handbook for knowing that your parent will never meet their grandchildren or walk you down the aisle, or for the fear of forgetting what their laugh, their voice, their smell was like as you clutch at memories. Next week a funeral. 

All these reminders and reflections of times not so long ago are abruptly very real and very present. Sadness and fondness mixed up in them all.

And, I realise I am lucky. Yes, there is much I will never have back. People who have left my life. I do know though I am happy to think about them and grateful that I have still people to love, work that matters and a small dog to keep my feet warm in bed. There is no doubt a present and future that will bring more of it all.