A week ago today I was saying goodbye to a friend. Even typing those words hurts.
He was a friend like no other. When I was sick he brought me water. Once I was mugged in Sheffield and he picked me up and made sure I got home safely. To cheer me up he used to push me on the swings in the park even though we were adults and supposedly ‘too old’ for such childishness.
He was 26. He was brilliant. But he was poorly and had been for a few years. Recently things had taken a turn for the worst. The cancer had spread too much this time. There was nothing more that anyone could do.
I had been to visit him on Tuesday. He was in pain, but joking away as he always was. No one did comebacks and one liners like he did. As I was leaving the ward he was on, I went back to his room and popped my head around the door. We smiled. We waved. We said goodbye happily. I didn’t know why I’d gone back at the time, but now I think I do. I wanted one last look, one last smile with the person who meant so much to me before cancer really did take over.
On Thursday we found out the cancer had spread and there was nothing more anyone could do. On Sunday we were called and told if we wanted to say goodbye then it was now or never. As part of a band of his closest friends, I rushed to be by his side to say goodbye, and later that evening the inevitable happened. He was surrounded by love. He was out of pain. He was finally at peace.
That was last Sunday. A week ago today the world lost one of it’s brightest, warmest, kindest souls.
And now here I am, a week later, pouring my heart out to a computer screen, trying desperately to find some meaning in my life.
I have a good job and earn decent money to say it’s only my first year in the profession. I have a partner that I love. I have great friends and a solid family who I know will be there for me no matter what. I have savings. I have dreams that I am working on, slowly but surely, and I want to get there ‘one day’.
But now none of this feels good enough.
I knew every dream my friend had. I knew his wishes and hopes, and I watched as at 26 the life faded from him and he didn’t get to make them his reality.
And it is killing me.
I don’t want to be slowly making my dreams a reality – I want them to be a reality. I want to travel. I want to write. I want to have a purpose, to know that I am doing what I know deep down I should be. I want every second of my life to feel precious and wanted, not wasted. I want to wake up and look in the mirror and smile and say to myself “you’re living your dream.”
I’m writing this with the hopes that once it is out there, once my thoughts and desires are exposed for the world to see, that there will be no more ‘slowly’, only thirsty, desperate, passionate hard work to make those dreams come true. There is no more hiding. Life is for living, not treading water. No more stalling, no more chipping away.
So here is my New Normal. Here is the start of me working away to get to my ‘one day’. This is my promise to myself, to the world – I will do it.
Dreams – I’m coming for you.