Sometimes I find it hard to start a piece of writing, even when I have a clear idea of what I want to say.
I struggle with emotion and often that is quite clear in my style of writing, I make light of sometimes quite serious situations and have a tendency to be frivolous in my thoughts and reactions. I dislike the word flippant, as it implies you are being disrespectful and I do not consider myself a disrespectful person, but flippant is, I suppose, an accurate way to describe how I behave in situations where you are required to show a certain amount of empathy.
This is not because I don’t care, it is just because I don’t know what to do.
We all know that one day we will die and it is the thought of dying that makes living and life so tangible. If you were going to live forever, there would be no need to do any of the things you always wanted to do, as tomorrow would always come. Bucket lists would be a thing of the past and everyone would wait until they had more money or more time or more energy, but in reality there is no tomorrow because tomorrow could be your last tomorrow and it really is as simple as that.
On Friday we lost a colleague, suddenly and without warning, not that warning would have made any of us better equipped to deal with it, but the suddenness of her death was met with an audible gasp of shock.
How can someone, who only two weeks ago was sat in the same room as me working, chatting and just generally getting on with another day, be dead?
This weekend I have thought of little else to be honest. I am struggling to understand how you can be so poorly, so quickly.
I don’t think for a moment that had she been in a road traffic accident, or suffered some other fatality, it would be any easier to deal with, but in that weird way that we need explanations for everything, these instances seem more understandable somehow, but this, this is unexplainable.
It’s unexplainable because, yes, she had been in hospital and yes, we all knew the diagnosis was not a good one, but in two short weeks our friend and colleague, who we thought would be back to work in no time, was dying.
There was no warning. No gradual decline. No reason to panic, yet. Or so we thought.
To think for a moment about how fragile life is.
You can’t help but stop and think about your life and how you are living it. Should you change things? Do things differently? What would make your life more worthwhile or more meaningful. A thousand thoughts an hour pass through your mind while you try to make some sense of what has happened.
Yet, all the time you know that nothing makes sense, it is just death and death is sad and tragic and cruel, it has no explanations and makes no excuses, it takes who it likes when it likes and there is nothing we can do to stop it. As with everything else in life you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on regardless.
We all know we will die, but rarely do we think of it.
For the living it seems that day is always a long way away, we can’t just think about dying all the time, we have to live and everyday that is what we do. We get up and we go about our business, the same as we did yesterday and will do tomorrow. We are designed to move forward, plan ahead, think of tomorrow and our futures. We jump hurdles and push past obstacles and when we get knocked down we get back up, over and over again.
I am nervous about tomorrow, I don’t want to talk about it or be in a room with people who are talking about it. I just want to pretend it hasn’t happened and get on with getting on. It is going to be a tough day and I know that some will struggle more than others. I also know that someone will cry, which will just make me want to go and lock myself in the stationary cupboard, for fear of having to react in some way.
I once got told off for laughing at a funeral and it has stayed with me ever since. I’m almost paranoid about it.
We joke, the buddies and I, about how shit I am at the emotional stuff.
We were talking over the weekend about how when one lost her father, over a year ago now and we were upstairs in the tea room, just me and her and she was sobbing her little heart out. It was gut wrenchingly sad but I didn’t know what to say, so I just carried on eating my sandwich and she carried on sobbing. She cried until there were no tears left and then we had an awkward hug and went back to work.
We are the best of friends and I would lay down my own life to save one of theirs and probably anyone else’s for that matter, but please don’t ask me to say anything while I am doing it. I love them like I love my family, but I even my family say I’m a cold fish.
I care, I do, about many things and lots of people, but I just don’t like to keep saying I do. I told you once, I shouldn’t have to keep saying it.
I can do happy and I can do sad, but I don’t do extremes. Maybe I am on the spectrum?
For a while the place wont be the same without her. It will seem quieter and somehow less familiar, like the clock on the wall is missing. You keep glancing up at the empty space, waiting for it to reappear. Wondering how you can go from day to day without it. When you will get used to it not being there?
You will. We all will. That is how life works. It is how it is meant to be.
The flickering light of a candle.