Absent Friends

Absent Friends
Hello, how are you?
At this time of year, we are often caught between the frenzied activity fuelled by being ready for that one big day, and a borderline apathy for the whole event.
We console ourselves with chocolate and other goodies promising that it will be New Year… New Me.
For some of us, at a time when we traditionally gather around our choice of button popping meal, there is an empty chair.
An absent friend or loved one.
This could be someone that has died, or someone who, for whatever reason, is not with us.
This year especially, we have all been touched by restrictions and rules and will all have had a taste of missing someone’s presence.
There is no hard and fast rule for missing someone, and each of us have a unique view of the person missed.
There is no hierarchy or status, no less than’s or more than’s, no better or worse; no one wins.
We miss someone’s presence and that hurts.
Unfortunately, the passing of time does not heal as such, but we do learn ways to adapt to that loss, to celebrate despite that loss, to remember the wonderful person that once occupied that chair. The chair, however, stays empty and during special celebrations the light shines brightly on the space they once occupied.
I think that reading this you can all associate in some way with this sort of loss, and on such special days like Christmas, the loss is under a very powerful spotlight and so triggers occur to bring feelings of grief very much to the surface.
This is normal and whilst I do not advocate we spend the whole time being miserable, far from it, it is ok to find an appropriate space to feel our loss and grief and remember our absentees.
It is no easy task, and I guess that is why Boris and his cohorts had granted some concessions around gathering at Christmas… and then, so cruelly changed them just as we had some understanding of what we were being asked to do.
I want to practice positivity and I want to celebrate all that is good in humanity, so I am not going to dwell on those amongst us who have little thought for others, but I do believe that most of us want to do our bit and protect loved ones and our beloved NHS.
I do hope that when this virus is behind us we remember how important the NHS is and that we look after it in lieu of future events such as these.
There will be other events that test our resilience, so it is always helpful to look back at what worked and helped us get through it.
The Pandemic, like many a national or personal crisis, has brought out the best and the worse in people.
Overall, it seems as though we have all been touched by heightened anxiety and this has shown itself in many ways.
Some of us are quicker to anger but anger is the tip of the iceberg; there is generally so much more going on beneath the surface.
We are frightened, uncertain of where this will all lead, aside from The Virus itself and the possibility of being ill, we worry about how we will access what we need, whether that is sufficient loo roll, or meaningful contact with our support network.
As the vaccine is beginning to be administered I have heard that many of the first to have it have cried with gratitude, saying that they have been given their lives back.
Of course, they are only the few so far.
I have also heard that others, not yet called to have it, are confused and angry at how the few have been chosen.
How would it be to stop for just a moment and consider how we might choose who has it, and I mean let us really stop and think about entitlement.
What makes one life worth protecting more than another?
Why is my elderly loved one worth more than yours?
The truth is, they are not.
It seems to me that good people are working hard to provide small amounts of precious elixir to as many as is possible in the fairest way they can.
None of us wanted to be raising a glass to an empty chair or absent friend or loved one this New Year, but many of us might, and not simply because of COVID-19.
It is tough just now isn’t it?
It has been a strange, complex and challenging time, and worse for some than others.
If we could try to support one another it can only help; and pat your self on the back, it has been tricky, but you did it, somehow.
You know what, you may have found it hard, but do you know what… it was hard.
And guess what…. It might not be over yet.
I am not superhuman by any stretch of any imagination, far from it, I am very human, and it is only through seeking support and being vulnerable enough to ask for help that I have achieved the wonderful status of being extremely… human! But I try to walk carefully and quietly, with respect in another’s world, looking through their eyes, experiencing, as much as I can, things from their perspective.
Sometimes though, I get cross and frustrated and anxious too.
I have been really touched in these moments by the kindness, support and understanding from my friends and loved ones, and even strangers offering me the last 4 loo rolls on the shelf.
New Year…. New You?
Cutting down on all that is unhealthy is great but do not neglect your mental health; great abs’ and a peachy butt are no substitute for a healthy head.
I wish you peace and health and well being for the new year.
With love from
Anna x