• Lara Flanagan

The art of missing someone

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

I have become a master at procrastination and making myself busy doing an endless number of meaningless things.  Someone shared a post recently that was by a “brave” well-known blogger who had shared a photo of her body.  Her post went something along the lines of how she was apologising to her husband because it was not the body he had fallen in love with.  Her husband had replied to her that no, it was not the body he had fallen in love with, but her body had born children, it was strong and he also loved this new body.  You basically got the impression that he was a good bloke because he loved her and her body despite its imperfections.  She was super brave, he was a top bloke.  To be honest I thought they sounded like a couple of nobs.

I had to go back and look at this woman’s body.  It was a close shot of her bare midsection from the top of her undies to just underneath the boobs.  For god’s sake, nobody’s bare mid-section is going to look perfect unless it has been photoshopped.  Despite this, her body looked damned good.  I vaguely remembered jumping up and down naked in front of the mirror when Rissie had told me that I had a wrinkly butt.  Jumping up and down naked in front of the mirror was troubling in many ways, and I believe I would have swapped my body for that woman’s body in a heartbeat.  How is it brave to share a photo of your decent body on social media?  As for the husband who replied that it was not the body he had fallen in love with, I felt like giving him a good slap with a handful of stinging nettles.  You don’t fall in love with a body you great big tosser.  If you do, then your relationship will never last.  You fall in love with a person, with a mind, with a soul.  But you are completely fucked if you fall in love with a body.

That article and the fact that people had thought it was so significant that it has reached viral status got me really riled up.  What is wrong with us?   Social media and the age of information are formidable beasts and have opened incredible worlds for us all.  Sometimes though, I wonder if this incredible world of information is showing us that our priorities are all skewed and maybe we don’t have the maturity to deal with it.   The article really rankled me.  Don’t tell me that showing a bit of your flesh and bemoaning normal bloody changes is brave.  Bravery is running through a bush-fire and surviving horrific burns and becoming an inspirational role model.  Bravery is escaping domestic violence and learning to stand on your own.  Bravery is surviving genocide and starting again.  Bravery can be as simple as getting out of bed every day.  But when did bravery become flashing your tummy and lamenting the fact it no longer looks like a washboard?

I was a woman on a mission.  I was pissed off. I did a search on the most shared posts on Facebook – one of the most popular shared articles was about an inflatable Irish pub that turns your backyard into a bar.   Seriously?  Thankfully the most popular shared article was about a cure for Alzheimer’s.  That gave me hope. I looked on Instagram and found the top five most shared photos of all time.  Out of those top five, four of them included the Kardashian clan.  Jesus wept.  I could have continued but had already spent a great deal of time on this issue when I realised what I was doing.  I was keeping myself busy. I do it all the time. I spend vast amounts of time on the most meaningless, pointless things.  I do it, so I can avoid addressing the fact that I miss my dearest friend.

I think missing someone who has gone forever is almost an art form.  You can’t let it consume you or else you would not function.  Nor do you want to push it to the back of your mind in case you forget.  Though sometimes forgetting, if only for a moment, sounds like a luxury that I would like for just a moment.   Losing someone and the whole grief process is like a never-ending rollercoaster nightmare.  I came to the realisation this week that I have spent the last 5 1/2 months grieving my sister.  I think I have done everything as best as I can.  I have been a little crazy, at times inconsolable.  But I am getting there.  I am working. My focus is the kids. I am busy, busy, busy.  I am still laughing.  I am writing.  I am cooking.  I am taking photographs. I am spending time with my family.  I have spent hours and hours on the road.  I thought I was doing bloody brilliantly, until this week. Then it hit me that I have only been grieving my sister.  Not once have I really addressed the issue that I have lost my dearest friend.

In some ways, I feel like I am back to square one.  Though I know I am not.  I tell myself that as I spend hours on the internet because an article really pissed me off.  I have gone to pick up the phone a million times this week.  Tiney was the one person who knew exactly what to say. If I told her that everything was ok, she would tell me that I was a bull shitter.  Then if I told her that I didn’t want to talk to her, she would send me endless photos of stupid dogs or angry cats.  (We always used to try to outdo each other with angry pussy photos, but I can’t say that, as it gives the wrong idea, thus I say angry cats). The cats and dogs would get increasingly obscene until I would have to ring her to tell her to stop sending me profane photos of animals.  Then she would make me laugh until I cried.

I have wanted to speak to her so desperately this week that my mind has been playing tricks on me.  There have been times when I have picked up the phone to ring her or text her, then I have remembered and I feel like I have been hit with a bucket of cold sick.  I can’t get her out of my head at the moment.  There are a million things that I wish I had done or said differently.  I don’t think it would have changed anything but there is a tiny atom of crazy in my head that says, well maybe it would have.  I miss my dear friend.  That rude, crazy, big-hearted waif from the fairy world that I was blessed to have in my life for almost 42 years.  I miss her so much it hurts.

Learning to manage this sea of emotions is something that I wonder if I will be learning forever.  The art of missing someone.  Just like my photos, my writing, and my recipes.  I think I need to add the art of missing someone to my list of things that I will be learning for the rest of my life.

It is a balancing act.  Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, I just want to crawl under my covers and pretend that the world is as it was pre- April 2017.  But regardless I get out of bed every bloody morning.  To walk the dogs, walk Archie and Rissie and to go on the hunt for something beautiful.  I don’t want the kids to remember me being sad, I want them to remember my being joyous.  I don’t want them to get sad when they think about Tiney, I want them to be grateful for all the time we had and to remember her with a smile.  I manage to hide most of my current emotions from Archie and Rissie as quite simply I think they have seen enough.  I avoid the phone as for some reason, the phone is the place where I can’t pretend that all is ok.  Talking on the phone leaves me undone.  That is ok though as I never really liked the phone and I am happy to avoid it for the foreseeable future. Unless it is for work, then that is quite different.

The art of missing someone who was as much a part of your life as breathing was, is all about also allowing yourself to live.   Our human lives are incredible, from the moment we are born until the day we die, we learn things every single day.  That is of course unless you are looking at the Kardashian family on Instagram.  I know Tiney would not want me to be sad.  Sometimes I feel like yelling at the heavens – sorry matey, but you forfeited your right to have a say in my life.  But I don’t.  Because she is still there and always will be.  So now it is all about learning the art of missing her.   I am not even close to getting this right.  I will be learning it for the rest of my life.  I know somehow that it is intertwined with the fact that the biggest gift I can give me kids is teaching them how to live.  To live joyously and simply and freely and every other word you can think of that makes you smile.  Maybe then, as I do that, I will master the art of missing my dearest friend.

#SingleMum #Grief #Motherhood #MyStories #BrokenHeart #Worrying #Hope #MyNotes

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