Although it feels like a lot longer in so many ways, it was only just over a month ago that I was in Scotland to celebrate my best friend’s wedding. I was honoured to be asked to say a few words on the big day, acknowledging those who could not be with us to enjoy the happy occasion. I wrote and recited the wee poem below, to remind everyone in the room that no matter who was absent in the flesh, all we really ever have to do is think of them and they’re there with us, anytime and anywhere. Hold them in your heart and you’ll take them with you wherever you go.
I do something similar for myself every now and then. Something that I have learned to do over the last 8 years since leaving Ireland, to just ‘think-myself-close’ to the people that I’m missing from home. I think of the memories, the laughs and the random moments that seem to stick out for no apparent reason. I tell them to people around me (more often than not that’s Uncle Rob, and he has to listen to the same memories over and over til he feels like he was there too) and that helps me to really be back in those moments. Sharing memories just makes it feel like I’m experiencing it all over again and it means I’m not forgetting them. I like that.
Right now, with everything that’s going on in the world, it seems the general sentiments of this poem may have some relevance in a broader sense, to those of us who are physically separated from loved ones who we wish we could be with. Yes, sometimes reminiscing can make you feel sad and dwell on the thing you are missing and I’m conscious that a lot of people are struggling with their mental health through this tough time as well, but just like the ending of this poem I’d encourage anyone who’s struggling with a lack of connection to loved ones to remember that they really want you to be happy, just the same as you want for them. For those of you who can get in touch easily with all the amazing technology at our fingertips these days, do it. Call, video call, embrace the silly snapchat filters, communicate only in GIFs if you want, whatever. Do what you can to stay in touch and when you do, please try to be positive – think and talk of good times past or the good times to come when this is all over.
For anyone who is missing those people who aren’t with us anymore and can’t be reached in those easy ways, all you have to do is think-them-close. Think about what they’d be saying to you if they could see you in your lockdown bubble today. Tell the next person you call something about them. Maybe something they wouldn’t know if you didn’t tell them. Share memories and allow yourself to be back in those moments for as long as you need to, but remember that in the end, they want you to make your own new memories too.
Finally, for anyone who needs someone to share any of those memories with – please get in touch and share them with me, I’m always here.
As Orla and Johnny share their wedding day
Loved ones support them in every way
Wishing them well on their journey through life
A brand new adventure as husband and wife
Yet some loved ones cannot be with us today
So we think of them now and they’re not far away
Hold them in front of our minds and our hearts
Everywhere with us, not really apart
Remember them now as we celebrate here
Each adding more to our smiles and good cheer