Emotions. We don’t deal well them us Brits. It’s a stereotype sure, but one that proves to be terribly true again and again. We prefer to blanket ourselves in sarcasm and wit because God forbid we put ourselves on the vulnerability line. We expertly sidestep discomfort and awkwardness to meander our way back to Pleasantville – a charmingly cosy place most Brits like to emotionally reside. We sit here with our tea and hot water bottle, rejoicing in the ease that comes with burning our heads in the sand.
The achingly annoying truth however, is that the important things in life usually turn out to be rather uncomfortable. Dash. Our pursuit of contentment will sadly override this reality though. Where comfort bites us in the behind I have come to find, is when we reflect. Reflection hates comfort. When we reflect on how comfortable we’ve been we can become uncomfortable. Ironic.
Let me explain.
Most of us are uneasy telling people we love them or what we love about them. We assume they already know. We’ll tell them tomorrow. We’ll tell them on their birthday. We’re busy bastards you see. And busy people don’t have time to thank their Mum, Dad, relative, friend the way they should be thanked or loved. They’re there until one day they’re not and that’s the cruel reality.
I’m not just speaking of saying ‘I love you’. A few of us manage that at least monthly. ‘Love ya’s’ over text (how endlessly caring and personal) may even occasionally sneak in. I’m talking about the kind of things you would say at this person’s funeral. Now things are getting uncomfortable aren’t they? We don’t like to talk about these things. It’s too harsh and cold. I can already feel you reaching for your comfort blanket. We don’t like to think about the fact that yes, YOUR loved one could die before you’ve said what you need to say. And that’s tough.
They’ll leave a mum, dad, friend etc sized hole in your life and you’re left with a heavy heart. Why oh why oh why oh why didn’t I tell them X Y or Z you’ll ask yourself. They never knew I felt this way… They DIED not knowing something very important. This is a British blunder there is no recovering from.
Most of you will read this and do nothing I know. You’ll sit and nod your head and think I really should do that. But you won’t. And you’ll be in the majority, it’s okay. At least you’ve read this far. Most people see the word funeral and look away,”oh I say what’s that? a cat!” I know it’s a thorny read so bless your cotton socks if you are this far.
It’s quite simple really. Tell people how you really feel while they’re still here. It may be awkward in the moment, probably for both of you, but it’ll be even worse later if you don’t and you’ll only have the cowardly emotion of feeling uncomfortable to blame.
If you want, write down what you would say about them if they were to die and post it to them. Or read it over the phone. Or if you’re feeling really ballsy tell them to their face.
You’ll feel all glowy inside once the blushing has settled I promise.
“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.” – F.Scott Fitzgerald