It’s the start of summer and we’ve been lucky. May was beautiful. Warm. Not much rain. Threats of terrible thunderstorms that haven’t yet transpired. It’s been wonderful. It was also my birthday. I was supposed to be a June baby. June 6th was my due date. ‘Stuff that!’ I must have thought to myself in the womb, ‘Whitsun week and bank holiday Monday is where it’s at!’ So I arrived early, timed it perfectly, which means that only on one occasion in my life have I spent my birthday at work.
My birthday was wonderful. Spending time being spoilt by loved ones. Marvelling constantly at how my actual age does not match how old I think I am inside my head. Am I really that many years old? How did that happen? Having young children helps too. Being around little ones keeps you youthful. You see life from their point of view, you see what makes them squeal with delight, you see what makes their hearts break, and you remember going through those things when you were young, and being there for them, takes years off you.
When I woke up this morning, I was relieved. I’d just had a terrible, vivid nightmare where I was protecting my children from a monstrous man; the rage, the anger, the fear – all too real. The comfort of the noises of the girls playing downstairs, already awake and ready to start the weekend, reassured me, I had woken up, the nightmare was just that – nothing more.
Walking around the house, whilst brushing my teeth, having breakfast, putting clothes outside on the washing line to dry, a song was going around and around in my head. ‘All you need is love – dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, – All you need is love – dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, – All you need is love, love; love is all you need!’ Even as I write, the song is still going round my head, stuck, unwilling to give me some sort of a reprieve.
It’s not that I don’t like the song; I most definitely do. It’s the simplicity of the song that I both love and also find irksome. How can it be? All you need is love. But I’ve been thinking about this all day. And I’ve been debating – is that do you need love? Or do you need to give love? If love is all you need, then why do people who are loved, still slip away?
What do I mean by slip away? Well, this week in the news, there have been two cases of high profile people, who have sadly committed suicide. What people have said about them, have brought me to tears. So many lovely, touching words. So many people describing what an effect and impact those people had had on other people’s lives. And I wished, I just wished, that those people could have read or known how important they were to others. How valued they were. If they could have just talked to someone about what they were struggling with. Perhaps; just perhaps – suicide might not have been the answer.
Whilst briefly reading about these people, what struck me was that they appeared, to the general public, to be so successful! Talented, wealthy, famous, popular. And yet…. They weren’t immune from the incredible, desperate sadness that drove them to the decision that they simply could not go on anymore.
Everyone’s life seems so glossy like a shiny brand new magazine, doesn’t it? Particularly on social media, where people filter, edit and crop out the parts that they don’t want people to know and see, and present the aspects that are palatable. But my advice is, don’t assume that your friends and family, who post their beautiful profile pictures, who celebrate successes on social media – are OK. Don’t assume that anyone you love and care about are ok. Check in on people.
Make the time, make the time – make the time – to make real contact with people, meet them, see them, make sure all is ok with them. Forget texting. Texting doesn’t have a shaky voice; lines under the eyes; tone of voice that betrays how someone is really feeling. Meet people. Hug your loved one. Scientists have claimed that hugging releases serotonin into people’s bodies. So meet, hug, talk, laugh, care.
I know it’s not that simple – love is all you need – life isn’t that simple. We don’t have the time to care, we don’t have the time for anything. But we need to make time. Because once those loved ones are gone – that shit is permanent, and no heartfelt tributes are going to bring them back. So reach out.
And finally – you. Yes, you. Talk to someone that you love and trust. Go to a GP. The medical profession contains angels. They will help you.
Everything in life is temporary. This desperate sadness that you might be feeling – it doesn’t have to last forever. Your troubles won’t last forever. Please reach out. Talk to someone. You have no idea how important you are.