The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

You Are Never Over Something, You Are Just Better At Managing The Pain …

So it’s 5am on the day of the US election.

The results are far too tight than anyone would hope – which means the US population have far too little empathy for their fellow humans, given Trump is still in with a good chance.

I know. The lying, cheating, bullshitting, racist, hate-monger is still adored by around 50% of the US population. Nothing shows how sick that country is than that.

So because of this, I thought I’d write something that may momentarily take our minds off hate. One that is inspired by the post I wrote yesterday for Mum’s birthday.

It’s about death.

Yes, I know that sounds a terrible thing to do, but it won’t be.

Or I hope it’s not.

[I’ve turned the comments off so I’ll just have to assume it’s the case]

You see death is utterly horrible.

There’s a chance it might even be worse for the people left behind.

I’ve written how long it took me to get over Dad dying.

10 years. TEN YEARS.

And part of that is because I had been denying Dad was ill for almost the entire duration of his illness. Thinking one more stroke would bring him back to ‘normal’, just as quickly as that one stroke had robbed him of it.

It is what led me to talking about the need to talk about death.

I get it’s not a subject anyone wants to talk about, but as we’re all going to be going through it – it’s better to have a healthy relationship with it rather than a bad one.

By doing it, I was able to deal with Mum dying with far greater balance.

Of course I was devastated and ripped apart …

It was not meant to happen at that time.

But because the door to discussing death had happened when Dad passed, it meant we were in a slightly better place to deal with it.

The problem with ageing is that it happens more around you.

It will force itself into your life, whether you like it or not … so talking about it, as uncomfortable as it may seem, actually helps everyone.

But … and there’s always a but … it doesn’t mean you are able to just move on after the event.

It helps you deal with the event with more clarity, but the emotions never really go.

Even if years have passed.

And it’s normal.

In fact, it’s beautiful … because it means the people who mattered most to you still matter.

How wonderful is that.

There’s been a number of times this has happened to me.

And while in the moment it is an emotional tsunami, it’s something you find yourself treasuring.

Because for a moment, you’re back together.

And that’s when you realise that while you thought you had everything in control, the reality is you’re just trying to control everything around you – so when something comes from left field, your walls are unable to hold anything back and the raw emotions come out with a force that takes your breath away.

I’ve had these situations with both Mum and Dad.

With Dad, it tends to be people who have eyes similar to his.

He had the most beautiful blue, expressive eyes I’ve ever seen.

I remember when I was living in Singapore, I was waiting for the lift in the lobby of the building I worked in.

Suddenly this man I’d never seen before came around the corner and waited at the other end of the lifts.

He was older, dressed smartly but his eyes were identical.

I kept looking at him – trying to remind myself it wasn’t actually my Dad while feeling it was.

And then, as quickly as he appeared, he was gone … never to be seen again.

I have a similar sensation when I see the actor Anthony Hopkins eyes … not just the colour, but the wrinkles around them.

Whenever he is on TV, I stare at him because it feels – even if for a moment – it’s like my Dad is starting back at me.

But the experience that got me the most was when I was living in LA.

I was at the local Thai restaurant in Manhattan Beach … waiting by the till to pick up my order.

Out of my eye, I saw an elderly woman sitting down waiting for her food as well.

It’s not that she really looked like my Mum, but there was something about her energy that felt like she was there.

Like the situation in Singapore, I found myself stealing glances while telling myself it’s not her.

And as much as I knew it wasn’t, it felt like it was and as much as I tried to stop looking, I craved that chance to be close to Mum again.

It was such a powerful sensation that I felt tears in my eyes. It was both a mix of the sadness she was gone and the happiness she felt like she was there.

This lovely lady noticed and asked if I was OK.

I apologised and said I didn’t mean to make her feel uncomfortable, but she reminded me so much of my Mum and I miss her.

And that’s when she said something I’ll remember forever.

“Would you like a hug?”

Oh my god, I did … but I also didn’t want to look like a total weirdo so I thanked her for her kind offer but said no.

As I said that, her food came and as she left, she told me it was so lovely to see someone love their Mum as much as I did.

And she walked out.

And I watched her.

And then I went outside and said …

“Excuse me, would it be possible to have that hug after all?”

She put her food down and opened her arms and I rested my head on her shoulder and she hugged me and I cried my eyes out.

Seriously, I think about it now and I’m amazed the restaurant owners didn’t call the Police.

We were like that for a minute, but it felt like hours and it was liberating for me … a release of all the situations I had try to control to ensure I didn’t lose control.

And like the man in Singapore, I never saw her again, but I’ll remember her – and him – forever. Because while they weren’t my parents, they let me feel – for a second – they were still here and that was the best feeling in the World.

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