Today I am really looking forward to watching some hockey at the Commonwealth Games with some friends, one of whom has walked with me every step of the last nearly-four-years (and who very politely doesn't tell me it's high time I let it all go and move on, even if she thinks so) and I am glad to celebrate my continuing life with her, and with others as we enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity.
I have just waved off my house guests, a friend of thirty years, her son (my godson) and his finance who have been staying with me for the weekend enjoying some sport, cooking me tea last night and taking me with them to one session. Again a great celebration of having lived through all sorts of life experiences affecting each of us, and still being here, still smiling (most of the time).
But, as I type another much loved friend and walking-buddy is saying farewell to her husband of forty years who died in after tragic accident whilst working at their church. I can't be there physically (though I have arranged to spend a few days with her when I have some time off later in August) so I am holding the family in my heart and my prayers. There is some guilt at not being there - but it's impossible to be in two places at once, and even had I skipped the hockey, I had to be back for an important meeting this evening... I just couldn't make it work
I know, becuase I know all these friends well enough by now, that all of them would have understood perfectly whatever I'd decided to do. I know that had I asked my friends here they'd have said 'go' and my friend there she'd have said 'stay'. But it has been an incredibly tough choice to make.
In the end, and after much wrestling, self-flagellation, angst, and conversation with other friends, I made my choice... I think, and I don't think I delude myself, that my friend's husband would be OK with the choice I made - he'd know I am only at the end of the phone or the email, he'd know I will be there when the fuss dies down in a week or two, and he'd say "y'oright luv" in that lovely Mancy accent of his.
Life is unpredictable, fleeting and fragile - all you loyal readers are probably sick of me saying this - we have to live each day as fully as we can, even if sometimes that means tough, painful choices have to be made.
So, in a few minutes I will brew some tea and use it toast the man who brought such joy to my bestest walking buddy in the whole wide world, and then go and celebrate the fact that I am not only 'still here' but healthy, happy and able to spend time with friends.