Despite being seventeen, weighing far less than I do now and being head over heels for my boy-band look-a-like boyfriend of the time, 2006 was undoubtedly my worst year to date.
I lost three of the most important people to me within nine months of each other, and it was more than a kick in the ball bag, as I’m sure you’d imagine.
In retrospect, that year consisted of a ridiculous amount of tea, sandwiches and biscuits, memories of relatives that I’d never seen before or since acting as though they knew my life story, a bleary eyed great aunt Phyllis and the need to wear ill-fitting black dresses just because they were funeral-appropriate.
I manage to push all of this to the back of my mind, until those fateful days when I come across an old photograph, a gift from them, or I have to help someone else face losing someone they love.
That’s when I’m reminded of that thudding sentiment of disbelief.
If you’re privileged enough to have never felt this sort of sadness, imagine being really, really hungry. Not “after a run” hungry, really hungry. And now imagine knowing that you’ll never be able to eat again.
Think of the worst break up you’ve experienced and times it by five billion. You might just about come close to what it feels like to lose someone for good.
It’s the control that we as humans strive for so often that in these circumstances we lose, leaving us, ironically enough, for dead. You’re the least in control you’ll ever be when something like this happens.
The only positive that stems from this incurable pain? The sobering effect that it has. Nothing seems a big deal and petit problems concerning a lack of funds or a pair of shoes become trivial. The realisation that you could die tomorrow is the moment that causes you to start living.
So make ends meet. Get back in touch with those who you’ve always meant to, take that trip across the other side of the world, but most importantly, simply take the time to appreciate the people you have around you now.
As scary as it is, we have no idea what tomorrow brings.
This weekend reminded me how lucky I am to be surrounded by such great people.
For Sue and Sue. x