Yesterday was a friend’s birthday and so Facebook was filled with posts wishing her a happy birthday. Except she’s not around to read those posts anymore. She passed away in February this year – a cruel loss thanks to cancer, a loss I think about every day.
She was an intensely private person and, as per her wishes, her husband deleted her Facebook page not long after her funeral because the last thing she wanted was an ever-present memorial online. That doesn’t mean that we think of her any less but it does mean that grieving is different. Which meant that, as I opened up Facebook yesterday, I wondered if the day would pass unseen or whether we would be ‘allowed’ to celebrate. I was thrilled to see a few posts pop up and so I joined the fray, carefully, vaguely. But it made me feel as if I was remembering her properly.
And then I start to remember all the lost moments, the moments when I thought I’d have all the time in the world to do something, to say something, to tell someone how much they mean to me. All those times when I made a decision to do something else, something that was the right decision at the time but something that I would give anything to redo now, in light of what I know.
I know now that a healthy bank balance is good but memories made with friends are better.
I know now that friendships change as our needs change and forcing them to stay static does nobody any good.
I know now that I value the inconsequential moments most – the laughs over a cup of tea, the texts that pop up when you need them most, the regular catch-ups you take for granted.
I think about my dear friend every day as I sit on the tram and pass by where she used to live, where we used to go for brunch, where she spent her last days. I remember fragments of conversations and some things make me laugh and others make me tear up.
As much as these moments and memories hurt sometimes, I cherish them. They’re a link to the past, a link to her.