The inevitable has happened, a friend, who I loved bumping into, has died, not of Coronovirus but something that had got its claws into her long ago. It was undeserved as most deaths are and the world has lost a fabulous ball of energy. Not for me the excoriating grief of close friends or family, more a sort of dull acceptance of the inevitability of an inevitable event.
I suppose I’m describing the loss of someone to whom I was not close close but whose company I really valued when our busy lives coincided.
Our last such meeting was serendipitous, one of her favourite words and one that I stole soon after I met her.
My little town was briefly brought to a standstill by hundreds of motorcycling Santa’s.
I had ‘popped’ out to collect keys from an estate agent,a job that should have taken 10 minutes, two hours later I was using an unusual route to find my car which I had left down by the river.
My friend and I met, I was hugely surprised, not only because she was already terminally ill but because she lived 5 miles away and our little town is never going to be on anyone’s bucket list of things to do before you die.
We hugged and made one another laugh, caught up on each others news and shared snippets of information about our friends in- common that either of us had met recently.
She has never had ‘ an Elephant in the room’ . Her Cancer story was never hidden and her progress, or not ,with it was well known. We shared an update.
” It’s bloody everywhere now”
” That is such a bugger, bastard thing”
We agreed to catch up with some other friends ‘ In the Spring’ . She caught her bus and I walked down a 45 degree hill to find my car.
As usual meeting her had lifted my heart and soul , maybe some sadness but primarily she had, as usual, shone optimism and happiness into our conversation and we had luxuriated in sharing the use of the word Serendipitous, as we always did.
So here I am in April , she has died. Coronovirus and it’s social restrictions have cancelled Spring meetings, even if Cancer hadn’t already done it’s bit to blight our springtime meeting. Coronovirus has shaped and impacted the way us second tier mourners do mourning. I can’t go round to our shared friends and give them a hug, drink tea and wallow in reminiscing, love and happy memories. Hugging is the thing that wordlessly both links and restores us, it feels inhuman to endure bereavement without them. Hugging saves us saying too much or too little and making the misery worse. It also offers the opportunity of sorting out leaking eyes or a snotty nose behind someone’s back.
Not for anyone in the second tier of connection to her and many in the first the chance to gather together to celebrate and mourn the loss of a veritable power house of a woman.
It all feels kind of blunt really. Dreadfull sadness with no ability to hug or share seems to take on a previously unimaginable direction and poignancy.
The power of Hugging, I miss it.