I used to think I was a bit of a wordsmith. Then came a point where words were simply not enough. The chasm between inner experience and outer expression, the inadequacy of mere language to be able to define a circumstance, sent me into a seemingly irretrievable silence.
Maybe I was just really badly depressed and couldn’t get my thoughts together. Or maybe I’d given up on the idea that anyone could truly understand what I had been through (given that I didn’t truly know myself), so I just didn’t bother trying.
There was one rare person who understood, because she’d been through the same abuse with the same person (my ex therapist). We became very good friends. Ali stood beside me without judgement, come rain or shine. Whenever I was in doubt or fear she would say, “no no no, that’s not the way” and remind me of the reasons I was doing all of this. I didn’t need many words with Ali.
Ali didn’t turn up to meet me one day, and I found out she tragically died just two hours after our last call. I grieve for her in so many ways – some that feel incredibly selfish given that the loss of her life is about so much more than addressing my inner challenges. I miss her personality and her zest for life, yes. But the times I miss her the most are when I just need someone to truly understand the context of my position and say the right words.
Losing a friend is hard. The loss of a very significant friend at a very significant time is harder.
It’s taken quite some time to find the words about losing Ali. I do still message her a lot, and I cry every time, imagining those unread message notifications fading into the ether somewhere, never to be received.
Loss has been my theme for 2017. I have lost people, and health, and time. I have lost myself, almost like one of the demeantors from Harry Potter came along and sucked out my soul (which is actually a reasonably accurate description of what happened). Thankfully I managed to piece together a more resilient version of myself with what was left. I’m getting better, day by day. My life is becoming meaningful again.
2018 has to be about moving forward. No more loss, no more trauma. No more narcissistic health ‘professionals’.
I’m smiling now, for the private jokes we shared, the times we consoled each other, and the beauty of a genuine friendship.
I plan to visit one of her favourite places in the new year – run the parkrun route she loved so much.