I thought I would give you a call, as it’s a while since we caught up. What’s that you say?”
… I said, I’m always around
“Well, perhaps it hasn’t occurred to you that I would rather you weren’t there. Let’s take a long, hard look at this relationship, shall we? I would be grateful if you could just listen. And let me give you the lowdown on how I feel ”
… OK, if you must!
“Right; so let’s go back to the beginning.
You turned up uninvited, moved right in and tried to destroy me with your mind games”
… No, it was never the intention to destroy you. You had to learn to live with me.
“What? That sounds pretty unbalanced. Why did I have to learn to live with you?”
…Because it is true … I came in uninvited and out of the blue.
The day James died. I arrived.
“And I will never forget how the world shifted on its axis when the Police came.
With their sombre demeanour and their officialdom.
I went down on my knees and cried,
NO! NOT MY BEAUTIFUL BOY!
And there you were. It felt like you laughed”.
… I didn’t laugh. I didn’t want to arrive. I had no choice.
“I am telling you that is how it felt, almost ten years ago. The fates, grief, God, were all saying, Here you are. Another test. Let’s see how how you cope with this one!”
And by GOD I Coped.
I stamped my foot and shouted, IT IS NOT FAIR into the abyss of darkness.
But you were still there.
How long, after you arrived, do you think I realised … you were actually giving me things?”
… I gave you hope first. I gave you hope for a meaningful future with your husband.
With your family and the wider circle . A moving forward.
… I gave you the strength to fight for the campaign at Kingston that rendered the area safer, so no more lovely boys (or girls) should lose their lives as James did.
… Then I gave you compassion. Suddenly, you noticed others in grief. It took a while *because you don’t let people in easily!*
but you got to know people through the Compassionate Friends and the Drowning Support Network who are your friends and mutual support network to this day.
“It took me a while to realise that these were your gifts. But, reluctantly, I began to see that this was the way forward for me”.
… Then I gave you not one, but two, new voices. One for writing, one for speaking.
I think I am largely responsible for the publication of your book, *blushes modestly*
… I gave you new friends.
… I gave you new strengths
… I gave you the mad bits in the past decade like the one that made you jump off a cliff in Turkey strapped to a paraglider. Or ride in a tuk tuk on the motorway in Sri Lanka in torrential rain. And laugh whilst crossing yourself.
… I AM YOUR GRIEF BUT I AM ALSO YOUR PAST, PRESENT AND YOUR FUTURE
…Now you know. I am your friend and I walk with you alongside the spirit of those whom you have lost. I will be with you for the duration. No fair weather friend, me.
“Do you know what? I am really glad I have spoken to you tonight because I couldn’t see it before. Now I really get it.
I can’t ignore you, can’t sideline you, can’t get rid of you. I guess you can stay after all. Just be relatively quiet. OK?”.
… OK. Thanks. Good night.