I knew that Thursday was going to be a tough day, and Thursday evening a difficult evening. Nothing specific to the work I had on my agenda or the people I was due to meet with, or talk to. My challenge was going to be all about goodbyes, memories and empty spaces.
My family wanted to come and see where I am during the week. They had seen the pictures and the video but they wanted to see the space…to see for themselves that I am OK. I wanted my family to come to see where I am. I wanted them to help me be OK in my apartment and my adopted town.
It was our mid-term break for schools last week (coinciding with Queen’s diamond jubilee) so we all drove up together on Tuesday. Even that was a pleasure. We arrived and I showed them round. It didn’t take long…but everyone loved the apartment. We went shopping. It didn’t take long for a list of ‘essentials’ to be created…coasters and a toaster; sliced bread and tea cups.
We ate out in a wonderful restaurant and watched Sherlock Holmes on DVD together. I worked Wednesday whilst my family relaxed, revised for exams, explored the town and did more shopping. We ate out again that evening…another really nice restaurant…and watched the end of Sherlock’s DVD.
Thursday morning at nine o’clock I kissed them each goodbye and saw them off at the railway station. And went to work. I was busy. I had little time to think about the superb two days. But I knew I was worried about my return to the apartment that evening. This was going to be tough.
The apartment was empty of course. Clean and smart but empty. No noise. No welcome home. No people. But the apartment was full of memories. Memories of the last two days. Where we sat together to watch Sherlock. There were coasters everywhere. By the side of the bed. By the settee. By the toaster. The second bedroom looked like an office – a desk and a chair. Neat and tidy. No clothes. No books. No iPods. No beds. No people. Just memories.
A best friend of mine from work once told me that my family left a ‘little piece’ of themselves wherever they went. She was right. My family were still there in my apartment, and I missed them. I turned on some music. I needed some noise. I emailed home and I fired up FaceTime – I needed to see them. I needed a smile. Three smiles.
They were happy. They missed me but they knew where I was. They could see the sofa behind me and the picture on the wall. They knew I was OK. They told me I was OK. I felt better.
As I sat and ate my dinner later that evening, I realised that my memories of their short visit were indeed powerful but were also very positive. We had an amazing time and I had wonderful memories. I smiled. I went to the desk to catch up with email. I smiled again. I felt good. I felt happy. I worked and worked well. I thought about Friday and what I wanted to do; I felt excited and jotted down new ideas for the day ahead.
We all have memories of great times and special people – at home; at work; together. It is never easy for us – for me – to turn these memories into positive energy, thoughts and action. But it is so powerful if we can. I want more great times with special people. I want more powerful memories.