I met Moy for lunch recently.
We don’t generally meet in a public place since Lenny died. We go out in nature or drink tea at home and chat. So, I spent a long time trying to find a place which wouldn’t put gluten in everything and, if I’m honest, a place that I hoped wouldn’t be full of prams. Protecting them feels like a natural instinct. We ended up in a cafe suggested by Mim, which I suspected would be busy. I got there early. I wanted to see if it was ok. I wanted to select a table out of the way. I wanted to take a seat which meant that they were facing away from the customers, just in case.
They arrived and it was lovely to see them. It always is. Hard, and teary at points too. We spoke about Lenny’s Legacy and my heart beat a little quicker to see the emotional lift this incredible idea has brought to them. Roy was so encouraging about getting people involved. It made me reflect on why I haven’t yet. I’d like to think I am more than capable of writing something. But writing, and being honest about it, is actually a scary concept.
When Lenny died, everything changed. Knowing how to support our friends, manage our own grief, not say the wrong thing, work out what is the right thing, don’t cry in front of them, don’t ask stupid things, don’t be intrusive, don’t stay too long, don’t upset them, do support them, filter topics, don’t pry, do…, don’t… do… don’t. Fuck. It. Up.
I can understand why friendships go quiet. Why the rise in anxiety can make avoidance easier. But actually, Roy is right (surprise, surprise): write what you would have wanted to know.
I think the advice is to not change who you are. A friendship exists because you have qualities you like about each other. A close friendship exists because you have love and trust, and know that the person’s intentions are good.
There have been times when I’ve misjudged things. And felt like shit afterwards for causing them pain. And there have been times when I’ve said something which has made them smile or brought them comfort. And felt like a good friend. There are also times when I have felt like I don’t know how to instigate communication. I know they don’t like texts which say ‘How are you?’ Because we already know what the answer is. So, I end up thinking about them and not texting. I feel rubbish about this. It seems silly to write it down but it’s true. I often start lots of texts and then delete them. Sometimes I just don’t have anything meaningful to write. But I should send something because I want them to know I’m thinking about them. Other people make it look so easy. We have an incredible group of emotionally informed people and I wish I was a skilful as them sometimes.
Our friendship has been about recognising that it can be too difficult for them to come and visit us some days. It’s about recognising they adore our children but some days it’s too hard to see them. It’s about recognising that plans can be cancelled or changed because it’s just too difficult. I’ve never, ever felt annoyed by this. I totally understand it. I get it. And I appreciate their honesty about their feelings.
I associate Moy with cycling. They have been hugely supporting of my evolution. It really is impossible not to think about Lenny when cycling around the gorgeous hills. My intention is to find a charity ride and slog it out to the finish for him. This feels like an adventure he’d enjoy. It feels like a way of being closer to them and Lenny. I just need to stop eating the crisps and get out there riding more!
How can friends help: make tea, be present, talk about the light stuff and don’t shy away from the heavy stuff. One thing that continues to amaze me is the support Moy offer others, often without knowing it. They are inspirational. They are heartbroken. They are finding ways to take all of us to a brighter future because Lenny is now our guiding light.
By Gail x