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Last night I slept properly for the first time since my best friend died. For five months now I’ve essentially just napped fitfully between nightfall and morning, never getting enough sleep to function well, certainly never deeply enough to dream properly. My dream life is typically very vivid, colourful, and memorable. But for months now it has just been the odd surreal flash of imagery. Turtles instead of hair, that kind of thing.
But last night I had my first proper dream, and in it he was alive. I dreamed that he had faked his suicide, and when meeting him again I was able to tell him how angry I was. How much it hurt, how selfish he’d been, how abandoned I felt, and how conflicted I felt while having all of those feelings right alongside my understanding, my empathy, and my love.
I woke up 15 hours after falling asleep. I woke up thinking he was alive. I was in my friend’s house, a seaside retreat. Her home, that sea, the full moon and the salty air… they finally let me sleep. The last time I was there, he was with me. We had a perfect weekend with seaside fire, music, laughter, coffee and croissants. But this time I went alone, so he showed up in my sleep.
Nothing is permanent. Not love, not life, not friendship, not sadness, not pain. Nothing is forever, and everything ends. Take comfort in this. When you feel suffocated by grief, remember it will pass just as everything does. You can not avoid it, so feel it. Sit with it. And then let it go. When you feel joy, the cuddle from a sleeping newborn, the first kiss from a beautiful face, a perfect afternoon… you can enjoy it even more when you remember it is impermanent. You can savour it.
Nothing lasts and we all die. Seeking comfort is an unnecessary distraction. What if, instead of trying to constantly soothe ourselves from the side effects of being human, we just…. didn’t. What if we just sat in the middle. Stopped trying to prove anything. Stopped trying to forget. Stopped trying to distract ourselves with food, alcohol, being busy, talking too much, constant noise, complaining, obsessing, work, reading, arguing, organising…
I sat in my loneliness this weekend, I sat in it and didn’t try to fix it. I sat in my grief and didn’t try to shush it away. I was gentle with myself. I ignored the clock, ignored the phone, and didn’t speak. No music, no painting, no television, no company. I sat with my loneliness and grief as they came and went like the waves. I sat with my contentment Nd my happiness as they came and went like the waves. I sat in the middle without drama, without running, without avoiding. Without clinging on to hope that something might get better, and just being content with What Is.
It was a beautiful weekend.
And I still miss him very much indeed.
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