I sat down this morning to write a card of condolence to the mother of my friend, whose father recently passed away.
I’d put it off for a couple of days. I didn’t really know what to say. Who does in situations like this?
It’s impossible to know what’s right or wrong so I settled instead on trying to tell her in the card what her and her family mean to me.
Sadly a couple of paragraphs can’t encapsulate what that is.
Although I don’t see my friend’s mom anywhere near as much as I should lately she’s a very important person to me, and came into my life at just the right moment.
My friend’s grandfather sounds like an inspirational man from what I’ve heard of his life.
I met him a few times – but not enough to say I knew him.
However his daughter’s family became a huge part of my life two decades ago when problems in my own family and personal life found me sleeping at their house probably way more often than was polite.
At the time I don’t think either of our families were having an easy ride from life but I remember being bowled over by how they welcomed me into their home.
I could for several weeks and months either be found sleeping on their sofa or on a camp bed in the dining room.
Sometimes this was just convenient after a night out, but at other times it was because I couldn’t face what was waiting for me in my own home.
My friend’s mom had more than enough going on in her life but she still found time to talk to me and we bonded.
After writing and delivering the card today I’m ruminating on the often unintended influence people have in the lives of others.
I think this began a few days ago when my friend described her grandad to me, and how he lived.
I realised that his attitude to family and the world had probably benefitted me too. The kindness that his child and her children have shown me over the years has probably got a lot to do with his parenting.
For this reason I feel I too should be grateful for his time on earth and as such this Sunday finds me in a reflective mood.
I’m also feeling thoughtful because I’ve been reading other people’s blogs today – and I’m struck by how there is a spider’s web of cause and effect that stretches out from each and every one of us when we share our inner selves and (whether we intend to or not) try to help people or enrich the lives of others.
Lately I’ve been feeling the benefit of support and honesty from individuals I’ve never met. They are often somewhere else in the world, many miles away from me and are dealing with their own battles. Yet still they take time out to say positive things when I struggle or feel the pressure.
One such person is positivelymar. She has been wonderfully generous in the last few weeks and I feel it’s time to give her a shout out and say thanks. She can be found here with her latest cheery post:
Keep going Mar 😉 you can do it!
Also I’ve been perusing a blog recommended by the ladies of slimming world called
I can definitely relate to the things she writes – and the abuse she mentions from strangers who have called her names in the street is something that I’ve experienced in the past and posted about a couple of times.
She’s also very frank about nearly opting for weight loss surgery – which I too almost went for until I veered away from it like she did.
Although I don’t deny it may work for some I can’t get away from the word that filled my head when I finally said no to the whole process.
The word was ‘mutilated’.
I finally realised that as well as continually abusing myself with food that that (instead of changing my ways) I was willing to let someone cut whole chunks out of me and literally throw them in the bin.
So, I have a lot in common with this lady and her (constant) struggle. I hope she continues to do well, and stays away from gastric bands.
So – there are my thoughts for the day.
People impact our lives. All the time.
You never ever know how that contact will pan out and what it will mean to you decades from now but I know that I am a much richer man because of my friend’s mom and the kindness she showed me when I needed it the most.
She will always be in my heart and I hope the impact of her loss becomes easier with time.
We can do coffee when she’s ready and have a longer talk.
Anyway Internet. That’s enough heavy for one day. I need to go and buy some oily fish to keep my brain working as it should.
Love the ones you know and love the ones you don’t know. One day they may become the ones you know and can’t do without.