life affirming momentIn life we deal with tough moments. They spring up at you out of the blue, surprise, shock and horrify you. They are different for each of us, but they are the kind of thing that has the potential to change us for better or worse. When Kirsty had her “turn” it rocked our entire family. I dropped everything and devoted myself to her and the kids. They needed me and I was damn sure I would be there. But something funny (weird) happened. I gave all my attention to them and without realising I was doing it, stopped communicating with my friends and wider support network. I have no idea why I did this, though I think it was partly a defence mechanism – I didn’t want to have to talk openly about what was happening, I was not yet ready. When I say “talk openly”, I guess I mean, in the way you talk with your family and close friends.

The longer I waited, the harder it got. Friends were texting me and asking to see me and I kept making excuses not to see them. When I finally went around to see one of my best mates it was hard. I was scared about speaking face-to-face and sharing what had happened. To make things worse I was also feeling kind of stupid because by then I had started this blog and was sharing my feelings with total strangers. I think I was afraid of going through that emotional roller-coaster that I had already been on, but I got there, we drank cider and we talked. We fell back into the old rhythms and I shared what happened. He told me he had been thinking of our family, that all our friends had been – yes, guys do talk with each other about this stuff.

Yesterday I shared what happened to my family on another blog. It is a place where I talk about my hobbies and rarely discuss my personal life but I needed to let people know why I had not been posting recently. I did not have the emotional or creative energy to currently pursue my hobbies. The response was overwhelming. The messages I received from total strangers, people I had only ever conversed with online in the briefest of instances, were so supportive. Not only did I get supportive comments and messages, but some people opened up to me about their own lives and the things they were going through. I felt privileged that they would share this with me.

I cried. Not a lot (remember, I’m not a gusher), but I was once again amazed at the kindness of the human spirit, the generosity of strangers and the value of building relationships. Today I am going to visit another friend who I have been avoiding, and later I am cleaning the games room so I no longer have an excuse not to invite my mates over.

When I started writing this morning I wasn’t really sure where I was going, I just knew that I felt better. I felt positive about life because of some kind words from strangers. So, I guess this post is a thank you to everyone who has said something nice, positive, supportive or funny to Kirsty or myself over the last six weeks. Kirsty just left for work for about the third time in as many weeks, I am going to spend the day with my big boy, and I am looking forward to catching up with my friends again. Thank you everyone.

Never underestimate the impact you can have on someone’s life, no matter how tenuous your connection with them is. A kind word, a smile – they can mean the world to someone who is in need of a little human warmth. I have read some amazing blog posts over the last few weeks about exactly this kind of thing and know you appreciate what I am talking about. Here are two posts that really struck a chord with me:

Once again, thanks for your kind words and support. If you comment below, please feel free to share a link to a blog post that makes you happy.