Month: December 2013

imprints.

This post is brought to you by this cheesy song from 1997 and this cheesy song from 2007. Because I love them.

 

A few weeks ago I was suddenly confronted by a startling realisation: that for the first time in my life I was about to lose two people whom I love so, very dearly within the foreseeable future.

And, frankly, I hadn’t really psyched myself up for that.

Now, I should clarify what types of loss we’re talking about: one of these darlings is likely to die sometime soon as he deteriorates with his old age. Thus, his death will hardly be a surprise and he has had a great innings, living a long, happy life.
The other has just found out that she has landed a whiz bang dream job in LA and is thus going to move thousands and thousands of kilometres away in a matter of days.

So, it’s obviously not a life or death situation, but it would also be fair to note that I have never experienced the loss of someone I love in my 22 years of existence.

On the one hand this is a great thing – I feel immensely blessed to not have had anyone I’m close to die. Yet, on the other hand, I see not having experienced grief as a disadvantage of sorts. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not something which I’ve been looking forward to. Rather, I know that it is, in many respects, an essential and inevitable part of life and delaying the first time round is not going to make it any easier when I first encounter it. I also think that it means that I probably can’t empathise with other people’s loss to the same extent that I could if I had lost someone myself.

It all came about rather suddenly. In the case of my old family member, he’s very elderly and has been edging closer and closer to the end of his life for a while now. But a few weeks ago his condition deteriorated quite rapidly. At the time I said, “Well, I hope he’ll last until my birthday.” (Which is in three months.)
Dad: “I don’t think he’ll be around then…”
Me: (Horrified) “Well, at least we’ll have one last Christmas together.”
Dad: “Darling, he may not last that long.”

I was mortified. My stomach dropped. It all seemed so surreal. And I felt so helpless.

I spent the next few hours gripped by tears as I snuggled up to this special man. I had to smell his smell and hold him while he was still present because his corporeal existence and our time together were suddenly so very finite. There was going to be a line drawn, a finish point and it was going to be soon.

In the case of my (rather talented) friend who has scored the awesome job, I’m not going to lie: my first response was selfish. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly ecstatic for her – it’s a foot in the door to her dream job and she had always hoped to move to the States after uni – partly because a large chunk of her heart resides there. I love her and want what’s best for her, but that didn’t stop me from sitting and crying when I received the news (thankfully, via text). Since then we’ve barely been able to see each other because she has, understandably, been hectically busy trying to organise moving to The States with less than a months notice. Fair enough. But it’s all happened so quickly and our time together is now so limited and finite.

I think part of the reason why I’m going to miss her so much is because I don’t have any other friends who are quite like her. And, frankly, now that she’s moving, a part of me would like someone else to fill the gap she will leave. I don’t even know how to fully describe her in words so I’ll have to get back to you on what the shape of her gap will look like.

Often, when I was younger, if a friend moved away for whatever reason I would find myself wishing that I had spent more time with them and invested more in our relationship, but it had become too late. This happened multiple times… which would indicate that I don’t learn from my mistakes quickly. Nice one, Alex.

However, I’m really glad to say that with these two that I did, from my perspective, invest as much of my love, time and energy into our relationships as I could. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve also had so many happy, hilarious, crazy, content, sad, non-sober times together and I, to employ a cliche, have no regrets.

Of course you could just say, “Why don’t you just stay in touch with your friend, Alex? Skype was invented for a reason, you know! That’d mean you’d only be losing one person rather than two!”

I happily agree with you, amigo. However, I have a track record of being categorically sh!t at keeping in contact with friends who live overseas – no matter how much I love them. Of course, I aspire to keep in contact with my friend, but I’m trying to be realistic, too. And realistically, it may take a minor miracle to make me better at keeping in touch.

So, where to now? I’m not sure really. How on earth are you meant to prepare for loss?

I guess at the moment I am just really thankful for what I’ve had up until this point and I am trying, somehow, to ready myself for what’s approaching.

 

Alex x

A post-script. Since I began drafting this post a few weeks ago my family member’s condition has dramatically improved.. so much so that I think he may well make it until my birthday..

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prosecco.

An open letter.
From: my feeling-sorry-for-myself-this-morning self.
To: my beverage-consuming self last night.

Good morning, peach.

Hey. 

So. Let’s chat.

Must we?

Yes. Definitely.

Wait. Which Alex is which? 

I’m not sure. I guess it feels like I’m going to be the school principal and you’re going to be the recalcitrant, rebellious student. Is that ok?

Yeah, whatever. Let’s just get this over with.

Now, Alex –

My brain hurts.

I was talking. Do you mind not interrupting?

(Glares.)

And there’s no need to glare at me, thanks.

(Continues glaring.) 

Yeah, so about your brain hurting. Perhaps, just perhaps, you need to rethink your approach to house parties.

Uhh. Why??

Well, we could start with that ‘brain-hurting’ thing you mentioned. The one where it feels like you’re slowly spinning in dizzy circles.

(Raises eyebrow haughtily) Mmmhmm? Well, perhaps it was worth it, thank you very much, you killjoy.

Note your use of the word ‘perhaps’. Ok, if not the head, how about the nauseated stomach?

Nothing that Vita-Weats and green tea couldn’t fix.* 

Or you could have had something a bit more interesting for breakfast.

Whatever.

Ok. How about the fact that your clothes are covered in dog hair?

I love that gorgeous canine, ok? And he’s old and he isn’t going to be around forever, so I think that he and I have established that it’s ok for me to use him as a pillow when I stumble in at 3am. The clothes? Yeah, I’ll have to pick each hair out one by one, but that dog pillow is worth it.

You don’t have anything better to do with your time than to pick each individual dog hair off your clothes? Wow. You’re fun.

Shut up, you. You evidently have nothing better to do with your time than to berate me.

Touché… but how about your suede heels?

Ok. I do concede that I will, from now on, avoid wearing suede heels to house parties. Thankfully, they are black and thus, they shall be relatively easy to clean.

You don’t say. They’d be beyond help if they were beige.

God forbid. I’m not that much of an idiot, thanks.

Good luck with the green stain on them, by the way.

I have no idea what this is. Actually, I think it could be an avocado dip… which I didn’t even eat. Let’s move on. Anything else you want to add from up there on your high horse?

Oh, yes, actually.

FFS.

Shame about your gorgeous bracelet smashing.

Yeah, actually it is. Do you have to remind me of the fact that I’m going to have to get it repaired RIGHT now?

Did you find all of the beads?

I think so. It wasn’t even my fault. Well, ok. I kind of tripped. Well, I thought that I could steady myself on the (closed) door behind me. But, as it turns out, it was open. And then my poor bracelet took the impact. I think I may have landed on it. 

(Raises eyebrow) Not your fault? Right. Yeah. Totally.

(Crosses arms across her chest.) Well, it wasn’t deliberate.

Ok. And how about have to pay for a taxi ALLL the way home because catching a bus was going to be too much like hard work for your non-sober self?

Yes, not ideal considering my current financial state. Thanks for the reminder, you cow. But it’s just $50. Not ideal, but not the end of the world either. It’s better to get home safely and to hurt the bank account than to not get home safely in the name of saving some money.

Oh, aren’t you virtuous. Well, look out world: Alex is the fountain of all wisdom.

At least I’m not as infuriating as you.

At least I’m not a bad friend.

Ouch.

But it’s true, isn’t it?

This is really unnecessary.

Oh, but I think it is, in fact, very necessary.

(Silence.)

You really hurt her, you know. She may not be one to wear her emotions on her sleeve (or her face like you do), but that doesn’t mean that what you did didn’t hurt her. Because it did. And you really went too far.
Poor form, Alex. Poor form.

(No rebuttal.)

What the hell were you thinking, Alex? Sometimes you act like your relationship means so little to you.

That is not true. I love her to pieces.

Well, act like it, dammit!

I’m really sorry.

Don’t say that to me. Say it to her.

Ok.

One last thing.

Oh, shut up.

I promise it’ll be the last thing I say.

(Sighs with exasperation.) What? What now??

See you next weekend?

(Raises her hand, clenching the first, second, fourth and fifth digits.)

Alex x

* As an aside: I do wish that my anti-nausea remedy was more interesting, but Vita-Weats it is.