They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and up until now, I’ve been fortunate enough to never truly understand the gravity of that statement.
I’ve felt that stomach-dropping pain of absence more regularly in the last 18 months than ever before. I haven’t seen my dad in 8 months (which seems even longer thanks to his cancer). I haven’t seen my sisters in over a year. I haven’t seen my best friends for that long, either. We spent our first Christmas in our home without our family.
I’m not just missing the people still here with us today (albeit not physically), but also the ones long departed. It’s given me the time to really think about those closest to me. To appreciate what they add, or added, to my life: the joy, the laughter, the fun and the wisdom imparted on me each time I’ve been in their company.
So, how can we be closer together? Hear me out.
Each time I’m in the company of my loved ones – entirely through FaceTime – I’m conscious of absorbing more of their ‘being’. I listen a little more, ask another question, am more present in their presence.
It’s easy to take things around us for granted. I did this whilst living in Devon and now I’m away I can’t wait to get back to the small-town life I once grew tired of – to the things that so quaintly never change, to the people I’ve depended on forever.
On a wider scale, there’s so much I’ve learned that’s brought me more in tune with the world:
Young people have been given the chance to be grateful for education – and can acknowledge how much they don’t want to lose it
We appreciate the freedom of travel and our ability to explore the world at our leisure
The Black Lives Matter movement taught us to see life from another person’s perspective
The spotlight on the NHS taught me to truly respect the immense pressure our healthcare providers are under every single day
Our 17:00 briefings with the government – no matter our individual views – taught me the colossal decisions made on our behalf which dictate so much of our lives
My job in the Life Science industry taught me about the importance of intelligent individuals who push scientific development, and save our lives by doing so
I thought about the hundreds of thousands of elderly people who go weeks without speaking to another person
We admire the work of the brilliant people working in education and will never again undervalue the time it takes to educate young people
We understood both how much we rely on small businesses, and how much they rely on our custom
We became thankful for the stability in our lives: be it family members, our homes, or our jobs
We became aware of the journey our food travels before getting to our plates
We learned not to take for granted the pure joy we get from socialising
We thought about how much we rely on one another
We cherished the natural world
We value the life around us
I hope we continue to remember these lessons long after we’ve got ‘normal’ life back.