This is not about someone I love who went away. Or someone who died. More and more I seem to be missing a lot of people. They’re not lost; some are quite near.
They’re people I feel connected to. People I trust and who trusted me.
People to whom I’m related fall into all these categories, and I know, DNA does not guarantee you’re in the inner circle.
So, missing. I’ve always been a missing person. As in someone who easily succumbs to missing loved – even merely liked – ones. If I’m really close to someone and I know I’m going to be without them for a while, I start missing them before they leave and wander around the house looking like the clothes at the bottom of the laundry basket.
The thing is, though, no one has to leave – not physically – for you to feel you’ve sort of lost them. So, I’m going to write letters to some of the people I miss most.
To Vole who disappeared into her work years ago and has seldom been seen since, I miss you. Also, world misses you. Also, people who have never had the chance to meet you would miss you if they knew you. Because you are so much more than that desk.
Talent is not just for artists. Or maybe you’ve elevated what you do to art. But while you were doing that, you forgot that so many of us loved who you were before you became indistinguishable from it.
We still do. Vole, it’s one thing for me to miss you, but more importantly, you are missing things. Also, people. But things. Real things like conversations about plate tectonics, horses, cake, and whether or not the aquatic ape theory holds up.
You’re missing your family – the blood one and the one you’d give you blood for. You’re missing the handful of good things about getting older, like indulging in truly terrible novels and not having to explain to anyone why you left home in pyjama pants. It’s not great out here, but I’d like it more if you were here. I miss you.
To Jay, who disappeared into a bad relationship: I know you’re there. I know you’re safe. A lot of people don’t think about how unsafe men might be in the places they find themselves unless they habitually break the law or they are the law. They should.
You left all of us when things didn’t turn out the way you thought they would. Sometimes I wonder if the distance started before. If you pushed yourself away from us because you knew there was something there that we would try to stop. Solid choice. We would have tried to stop it.
But I miss you. When we were younger, it was you who seemed to hold all the beauty of the time when the world had not yet broken us. Then someone started taking off pieces of you. Every time it happened, instead of coming to any of your friends for glue, you took three steps back. Now, as I read many years ago (and I paraphrase because no one, especially me, can recall from whence it comes), now, you are so far away, we can’t even reach you with prayers.
I miss you, Jay. I miss your future possibly more than I miss our past. I was so very, very counting on your being there. And I worry that even if you showed up in corporeal form on my doorstep, there would be no human left inside now.
To the Twins who left because of that one god-awful fight and never came back: it was terrible and I won’t pretend otherwise. It was personal. Everything important is personal on some level, even if the only level is that you receive it as a slight upon your person.
What it was not was irreparable. It never occurred to any of us not to be friends. We had a fight, but you stopped fighting for us. I thought we were better than that. Stronger than that. Our lives are interconnected and so I cannot see how we will survive this distance.
And in case you missed it, I was hurt too. But I miss you more than I was hurt.
It may or may not often be said, depending on how many coffee mugs you read, that distance is only so much space and time. But this is just another lie coffee tells us. It’s hurt and sleepless nights, worry, anger, loneliness, loss, insecurity. And regret, regret, regret.
You have a choice: try not to end up on a coffee mug; or grow a thick skin.
Remember to talk to your doctor or therapist if you want to know more about what you read here. In many cases, there’s no single solution or diagnosis to a mental health concern. Many people suffer from more than one condition.