You know when you can’t shake an image from your head? You think you have, and you sit there, your mind dormant for a few minutes watching the tv or reading a book or making dinner and then POP! It suddenly raises its head and you see it in your minds eye again. As if you are seeing it in real time again for the first time, and then again and again? There is an image I can’t get out of my head. A mother kissing her little girls coffin goodbye. At 29 she was still her mothers baby.
My friend died suddenly. We buried her yesterday. Her funeral was without doubt, the most beautiful, and for want of a better word maybe, the happiest I had been to. It was a celebration of who she was and what she had done in just 29 years. And it actually was a celebration. People were dressed in bright colours and floral patterns. People were smiling. Her parents asked us to applaud her memory and we clapped until our hands felt fuzzy and tingly. There was champagne at the wake. It was almost…like an special celebratory event but the the person who had invited you was just out of the room for a few moments. Have you seen her? No, she is in the other room I think…
The room was filled with her energy. She was alive in all of us, in our memories.
I felt almost like a fraud for being there. There were people there who knew her better than I did. Should I leave and let them soak up the vibe about her and let them take each memory heard talked about as they passed other groups of people and scurry them away in their thoughts? But no, I eventually thought. I am part of that too. I am part of her memories. So I shared my memories too…
I thought I would be angry. Why has she died when others, old people, mean people have lived? But I didn’t. What I felt was…happy. My life was richer for having had her in it and I was so happy for that.
I woke up today and today has been a happy day for me. And completely effortlessly so. I didn’t wake up and think I would deliberately make today a happy one. It just happened. I seemed to, without contriving to, find something enjoyable out of everything I did. I saw things for the first time in a long time, on a lot of stuff.
I didn’t worry if I looked silly at Ed’s football class, or if my bum wobbled when I ran. I didn’t worry if I babied Ed too much during his lesson. I grabbed every single moment and stored it in my mind and memory. I did not let a single moment or memory sneak past me. I beamed. My face hurt from it.
I didn’t moan or get frustrated when my husband went round 3 opticians to find his perfect glasses. I would have done, normally. I would have thought we had a dozen other things to do that day. I didn’t today. He needed my time, even for specs, and I gave it willingly. This, threw him. He seemed a bit nervy… I gave honest opinions too, none of my normal “oh yeah they look great” whilst I finished writing my shopping list on the back of an old envelope. None of that. I meant it. I wanted him to know I was giving him my time and thoughts. And he did, he looked great in his new specs. He took my breath away. Actually truly, made me gasp. Silly maybe. Only a pair of specs. But I saw him, with new eyes, in his new eyes.
I didn’t care about the scornful looks I got from other shoppers as I played with the kids in the shop. I put glasses on Ed and we laughed at his silliness. At our silliness.
I got Alex one of the balloons he wanted and let him leave the shop with it….techincally, theft from a display maybe, but who cares? I didn’t.
I talked to the little boy dressed as a policeman in the shop. I normally would have anyway, out of politeness. But I wanted to with all my heart today. To include him in our game. And he smiled a different smile to a kid included just “because”. Maybe I read too much into it. I don’t think so though.
I didn’t recoil in horror at the food bill at the checkout in sainsbo’s. I didn’t begrudge my husband picking up the more expensive items rather than shop brand. I didn’t get grumpy at customer services when the queue was massive, even though the old bloke behind me was trying to goade me into it “Gawd, takin’ bloody ayyyges innit? Christ!”. Nope. It was no effort at all but 100% natural to just say “oh well!” and beam at him. I didn’t get angry when I returned something I had previously bought to “only” be given a credit note and not cash. That will come in handy at Christmas, I thought as I squirrelled the credit note away. I surprised myself. But the “surprise” was fleeting and passed in seconds, morphing effortlessly in gratitude. It was all natural today.
We had taken two cars into town (because I went to football with Ed and Smudge did something else first with Alex) and Smudge and I raced each other home, taking different routes. I was desperately sad when Ed and I didn’t beat Smudge and Alex home. I wanted to, for Ed. I wanted Ed to be pleased and proud of me. I was sorry I disappointed him. But I didn’t. All he wanted, was not to win, but was my time. We got out of the car and he said to me “you are the best, mummy! Next time!”.
I didn’t mind doing the bedtime story for the boys (normally a chore after a 13 hour day)and I choose, myself, the longest one I could find.
I chose and ate a chocolate bar and didn’t feel guilty. I looked at my body in the mirror when getting changed for bed and thought “I actually don’t look that bad”.
Today I’ve seen Ed run the best in the room, even though he wasnt the fastest. I have seen Alex build the best train track even though it was wonky and the tracks didn’t meet up. I have blown dried the childrens hair and seen every colour in it. I have seen my husband be beautiful and kind and funny. I sat and listened to my children, not talk over them or half listen or finish their sentences.
My mum told me once, the most generous thing you can ever give is your time. How, HOW did she ever get to be so wise? I wont call her Yoda. She doesn’t like it.
Dont get me worng. I know I wont do this every day. I am normal. But today, I did. And it was effortless, which really surprised me. Out of it all, letting go of the rules and the reigns was, effortless. And we have all laughed all day long. I feel happy.
I am happy.