First honest about what he isn’t

If I could recommend one course of action to you – by which I really mean, to me – for this upcoming year, it would be to try to keep in touch – or get back in touch – with your family, those you love, and people who have been important in your life. Nobody expects you to be the closest confidant of each of your third or fourth cousins; but a phone call here, a card there, could mean so much to people you will one day regret having not kept in touch with.

In 2010, I lost one of my old college friends to cancer. In 2011, while such an event didn’t occur to those closest to me, several of my friends and colleagues found themselves bereaved and, occasionally, bereft. Meanwhile, my mother spent much of the latter of the year emerging from the foreboding shadow of a breast cancer diagnosis, two swift, timely operations and a course of radiotherapy.

Life is distressingly, infuriatingly short. Worse, our supplies of patience and energy are even shorter. If nothing else, this yearly excuse for good will lets us pause and re-examine our relationships with others. We should accept that we’ll never be the perfect husband, wife, partner, sibling, parent, child; and yet hope that we might at least try to be more loving, and more mindful, than we’ve been in the past.

Happy new year, and good luck for 2012. And sorry to those I don’t ring, or email, or visit, as often as I should. Believe me when I say that I still hold you dear: somewhere, deep down, in my foolish, lazy, reluctant, hapless heart.

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3 Responses to First honest about what he isn’t

  1. oooh…..how true those words are….having lost several people last year, one to breast cancer well before her sell-by-date, and too many over my medium sized life, I agree….one of my new year’s resolutions this year is to let things go……as you so rightly say lie is too short!!

  2. looby says:

    Yes, that’s something that’s been in my own head as my Mum’s anecdotes about my Dad continue to sound the faintest of alarms. The other week he was staggering like a drunk on a walk he would have managed fine a year or so ago. And it’s particularly apposite to get back in touch because we’ve never really got on and he’s quite an effort. But all the more reason to maintain contact (I’m glad to say we’ve never lost contact, even though it’s usually through my Mum).

    And Happy New Year if it’s not too late.

  3. smallbeds says:

    There is no statute of limitations on a heartfelt happy-new-year.

    My dad can be almost impossibly hard work sometimes, but in recent years we’ve basically agreed to a truce that has worked out mostly OK. Only very occasionally does he mention burqas or Jeremy Clarkson. So I try to keep my own counsel, and make sure in advance that I only see them both for no longer than ten days in a row.

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