The Business of Living


I tried to remember what life was like before you died.

It feels as though I am watching old home movies of us, drinking wine and trying to be sophisticated.

I was the sensible friend, I think, or where you?

Perhaps we might not be friends now but we were when you died, best friends they said, so the mantle stays forever.

A funeral director told me about the body of a boy so badly charred that it couldn’t be viewed by the family. The mother wept so much that they tied a ribbon to the wrist of her son and opened the casket enough so the mother could hold onto the apron string till the end.

After you died, life wasn’t the same or was it exactly as it was supposed to be?

I worried for my children last night. I lay in bed and thought about how hard it is to be an adult.

Save money-go traveling-have sex-find true love- find work you love- work for yourself-eat more plants-try the swordfish

And still, I like being alive but I am not sure I do it very well.

I have made mistakes. I been everything I despise and I have, at times, been the kernel of my very best self.

The morning of your funeral, your father had to hammer back the heel of your shoe that had come loose. Did he fears that you might trip on your way to the next stage?

The funeral director told me that people buy new shoes for the dead to wear in their eternal bed. But we don’t wear shoes in bed when we are alive, he wondered.

Wedding dresses are also common. I no longer fit into mine, I laugh. It is in my wardrobe, boxed, waiting for me to be thin and dead enough to be reworn.

Four suicides in a month, the funeral director whispers to me. All women. We are getting better at it.

And why wouldn’t we?

Why would we not choose our exit date?

There is so little else to choose and have control over. Our bodies, our right to choose, our pay rate, our safety, our consent, our right to stay alive.

We we circle back to the start.

I tried to remember what life was like before you died.

I thought I could choose. I could travel. I could say no. I could eat the Swordfish. I could drink the wine. I could dream of a life filled with music, and art, and wine and connection, and I would never have chosen what was to come.

We tied a ribbon to each of our wrists when we became friends, and then ran like hell towards the future, until you tripped on your broken heel and left me to go on ahead without you.

My ribbon still hangs from my wrist. Sometimes when I am sleeping, you tug at it until I let you into my dreams.

It’s oh so quiet, you sing and I wake with my pillow wet from tears. It’s oh so still, I reply and I get up and go on with the business of living.

My 6th Letter To You

Hello again,

How was the weekend? Are you okay? You know I’m here if you need someone to listen. I might not have the right words but my ears are very able and clear, so anytime you want to unload, I can carry it for a while for you.

I have been doing a lot of introspective work with varying results. The challenge, as you know, is to know ourselves but also allow ourselves to change and grow. The goal for me is to become more responsive and less reactive.

I was thinking that when we aren’t present in our own lives we tend to rely on the mask of personality we have created and rely on it to see us through the moment or the situation. But what if we were present at these times and we paused, (sometimes I am not good at this but I am trying to be better) and responded without ego and instead responded with curiosity and openness?

I know sometimes I never really feel like I’m really grown up. That I’m pretending to go through the day with responsibilities, it’s actually pretty funny when you think about it. Like you’re ten years old and driving the car, and having parent/teacher interviews, and choosing what to have for dinner. Imagine yourself at ten doing those things. It’s difficult to try and let go of the childlike qualities but also be responsible, most of all for yourself and your actions.

But I know you are doing so well and remember that these odd and unwanted feelings don’t have to stay and if you can let them float past like clouds then that’s all they ever were.

Do me a favour today? Please? Stick around. Be present. Don’t go backwards and don’t go forwards. Be here, now.

You matter.

Kate xx

P.S. My rose are in bloom. They are 22 years old. The yellow one from one of my dearest friend. The pink one I bought when my daughter was born. Aren’t they lovely?


Christmas Wishes

Content warning: Suicide

This week I have learned of three suicides and one attempt. All men.

Discussing this with my husband, he said that this time of the year shines a light on what is lacking or what you perceive to be lacking in your life. Money, family, professional success, personal success, relationships and more.

This is the dark side of Christmas, and one I don’t have any answers in solving but all I can do is wish you well, male, female or other.

I wish you peace.

I wish you to buy only things that matter and you not extend yourself beyond your budget.

I wish you sleep.

I wish you warm memories of those who you no longer spend Christmas with.

I wish you guilt free eating and sensible drinking.

I wish you relief from expectations.

I wish you the power to say no.

I wish you the power to say yes.

I wish you contentment.

I wish you a sense of belonging.

I wish you stomach aching laughter.

I wish you acts of kindness both to give and receive.

I wish you health and healing.

I wish you to know that you matter. You truly do. And Christmas would not be the same with out you.

I wish you would stay a little longer.