My best friend, Tim, disappeared when he went diving in Canada; 53 days later, he was found dead.
For many, during the course of that 53 days, I appeared to be cold and distancing myself, and a group of friends even wondered what my stand was with them.
I was quite frustrated by this, considering I barely had time to deal with my own emotions with all the legal work, my actual work, house moving, my mum’s illness and everything added up on top of my day to day functions, I found that a little bit unfair.
How was I supposed to take care of others’ emotions when I was utterly screwed up internally and externally?
Boyfriend said he could almost understand what that group of friends might be feeling as I haven’t exactly been transparent to him neither (he said it in such an indirect way I think you know what he was trying to say). Then he went on and said that, only because he knew me well, would he be able to tolerate my ability to isolate myself from everyone when shit happens.
I was surprised, by how different people cope with difficult situations.
There was a friend of Tim who was rather vocal about her bereavement, to the extent that she kindly sought me out when she came all the way down from Cambridge. We were having a cup of tea and sat by the river, and she kept recalling her memories with Tim, her emotions, how lost she was feeling etc etc, and I sat there, looking at the not-very-blue sky, just didn’t have much to add. I was muted, not because of her clearly, but because of sadness.
I was muted by sadness.
A few days ago, my boyfriend’s dog, Flossy, passed away too. That was sad. My boyfriend was also rather vocal about his grief and recalled memories after memories how perfect Flossy was as a family dog.
I love Flossy too, and as my boyfriend talked about their memories, tears also dripped down my face.
I was surprised by my tears to be honest, because I hadn’t cried all that much for Tim, nor when the female friend recounting their memories by the river with a cuppa.
I couldn’t help but wonder, have I changed?
There was once, around a year and half ago, boyfriend and I had a massive fight and he shouted, ‘You are no different from a snowman, do you know why? Cause you are so cold, and you have no heart!’
When I shared this story to my friends, they all said that my boyfriend was harsh. I didn’t think that, I was actually quite happy that I was compared to a snowman. Call me Ice Queen, like that queen from Narnia. I like being cold to people, I like protecting myself, I like to be able to function perfectly even when horrible things happen. That’s how you get stronger and stronger.
But when I cried over Flossy’s death I knew that I’ve changed, the Ice Queen has slowly melted away with compassion and a bit more sympathy. It was then I thought of that group of friends who were puzzled by my isolation.
I wasn’t able to comprehend their puzzlement then, but now I started to understand that, maybe it meant something when your friend is in trouble, and she just completely vanishes, and it is not a good feeling.
I wonder when shit comes again in the future would I, continue to isolate myself. I think i would, I knew I needed space, but I would try to be a bit more responsive.
If anything, it was my boyfriend who has been the most supportive, for he knew and he accepted that his girlfriend would bring Narnia out of the wardrobe into the real world, when she needs to fight.