You okay? Take time to check in with loved ones

“You okay?” a friend asked me today.

“I’m okay,” I told him. In reality, the rawness of the pain still stabs at me.

I was still coping with the news of a friend’s passing early this year. Then the news came of another friend who passed from a heart attack … then just five days ago, my grandmother.

Three in a month.

I know death is a certainty and that bad news comes in threes but … 2021 seems out to get me.

“You okay?”

It’s usually me asking my friends that but it helps that someone is checking in. Someone reaching out to make sure I am okay and that if I am not, they are there to help me get through it.

That I am not alone. That someone has time to listen. Knowing that is more than enough for me.

Life is hard, but death is harder for the living.

We wish those who have left us will have a peaceful end. But those alive are reeling in pain, anger, sadness, emptiness, longing, dullness, hollowness … emptiness echoes in the spot their presence once filled in our minds and hearts.

I feel that. Three-fold.

“You okay?”

That one question makes me think of them.

Their presence lingers in my mind but the longing to hear them again will be there. The regret of not spending more time, of not calling more often, of just being sorry numbs me.

I sat with my grandma that night. Her hands, the ones that used to carry me, felt so soft and frail.

Spoke to my aunts about a memory I had of her. We wept together and held her tighter.

These days the fear of not waking up from sleep keeps me awake. I am tired but I cannot sleep and when I do sleep, I find it hard to wake.

“You okay?”

I asked my mum today. She smiled and said yes and if I could help her feed the guppies.

I worry about her. I know she is strong. She takes any devastating news as God’s will. She gets through it all with a smile and with her meticulously laid-out daily ritual.

We were lucky to have been granted permission to cross state lines to see her mother for the last time.

We performed prayers and she said her goodbyes. I only saw her tiredness later. She usually keeps me company on long drives but this time she slept.

I forget that she too is ageing. I can’t help but wonder how long I still have with her.

“You okay?” my brother asked. “How is mummy doing?” he added.

My amazing siblings will always check in on both of us. They have never failed to provide love and support. They are my pillars.

I hope they are coping well. I’m glad they are there with me every step of the way.

“You okay?”

Pete calls to ask me every night.

I guess I am but not really, I tell him. He listens, tries to cheer me up or just lets me be.

Life is just going through the day and as more days pass, more smiles and laughs will replace the sadness, memories will fill the void, new voices will echo in my head.

Take a moment and call those you miss. Pause a little to enjoy life’s beauty. Breathe a little deeper and let the wondrous scents fill you.

Pay attention to the sweet sounds that surround you. Stare a little longer into the faces of those you love.

Regretting moments lost is pointless. Make it count. I am going to try to listen to my advice.

“You okay?”

I will be.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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