Friday, 15 July 2016

Friendship (again)

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.

C.S. Lewis

Thank you, again, for your wonderful messages of support following the death of my friend, Q. It is really appreciated, and the thought of all of you, out there somewhere, makes things easier.

I have written a few posts on friendship over the last year or so (click here for one on how booze affects our friendships), but the last few days have made me think about it in a different way.

As news of Q's death has spread there has been an outpouring of grief on Facebook. A remembrance page has been set up for friends and family to post pictures and memories.

(I was searching for another word for death, but I hate them all. 'Passing' is okay if you're talking about wind, but not a human being. 'Loss' makes it sound as if they've been mislaid on a station platform).

Mr SM has been asked to deliver the eulogy at Q's funeral. He is terrified. He was awake most of last night trying to work out how to get the tone just right, and worrying about breaking down in front of hundreds of people.

Trying to describe (in just a few minutes) a man and his life, and a little of what he meant to all those who are mourning him, is a horribly hard task.

It's made me think how sad it is that it takes a death to make us realise how wonderful our friends are, about how they've enriched our lives and what makes them unique.

It's all too easy to focus on negatives, on silly day to day irritations (a joke misfired, a thank you not delivered, an invitation turned down) and to forget the big picture.

So I've made a pact with myself. I will make the time to imagine a Facebook remembrance page for each of my close friends - the photos, the memories, the lists of all their awesome qualities, and I'm going to feel grateful for them now. While they are still here. And I'm going to take the time to tell them so.

As for the booze, I don't miss it at all.

My friend S told me that when her father died, she and her siblings flew from various parts of the world to be with her mother (a recovering alcoholic). Their greatest fear was that, after two years sober, their mother would be drinking again.

As they gathered together, the first thing S's Mum said to them was "I know what you're all thinking, and it's okay. I'm not going to drink." S had never been more proud of her mother, nor loved her more.

It's at times like this that you need to be a rock, to protect your family and hold them close. Without the drink I feel strong.

Thank you again,

SM x


  1. "A strong friendship doesn't need daily conversation, or being together. As long as the relationship lives in the heart, true friends never part". Thinking of you and Mr SM xx

  2. He'll do fine, your husband. And he'll be pleased and proud afterwards. This has been such a tough year - and we're only in July - and here we are ending another tumultuous week with the monstrous atrocity in Nice. Our family and friends - and our health - are the most important. Possessions, money in the bank. count for nothing in the end. We must treasure them. And take nothing for granted. xxx

  3. I'm trying to connect and treasure my friends more since stopping drinking. Thank you for the reminder about how important this is.

  4. I echo all of the above. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. Your strength - and what you are learning through this hard time - is contagious, SM.

  6. I have held off putting a comment on here over the last few days because I never know what to say to bereaved people - how on earth can what you say comfort them? But I am here, thinking of you, and Mr SM, and Q's family. And I want to say thankyou for still blogging at a time like this. And as for the eulogy - what an honour. I know it will feel difficult in anticipation, but what's really important is that the person as they are is honoured - I mean that their personality shines through. I'm not the slightest bit religious (I'm thinking you might be more than me) and i feel the way we "live on" is through others' memories of us. I am confident Mr SM will honour his friend - and after all if he does break down, no-one there is going to judge him.

  7. So sorry for your loss, SM. Terribly sad. I love how you are using your grief as energy to make positive changes in your life. What could be a more fitting tribute?

  8. I too have been trying to treasure my friendships since I have stopped drinking. I've kind of fallen off the path. Thank you for the reminder. I will pray that Mr. SM finds the right tone as he speaks his heart about your friend. xo

  9. Hi SM - thank you for posting this. It comes at a good time for me, when I am working through this non-drinking sober thing, figuring out who my real friends are, and all that good fun feel-y stuff. Thank you for the last two parts of this blog. Those really made me smile. :) xx - C

  10. I'm at a loss at what to write, other than to say I'm here admiring how you are handling the whole situation. Q would be proud.

  11. I'm so sorry for your loss, my heart goes out to his wife, children, Mr. SM, all of you. I'm grateful for your Friendship posts, it's not easy to admit that I've been an absent friend, strictly surface, superficial stuff and am ashamed at how many conversations were forgotten by me because of blacking out from the wine. I feel so empowered and excited to be a better Mom and friend, thank you SM.