This is the first blog I’ve published since the 1st September.

Between hospital visits and then the passing of my best friend a month ago I haven’t had the time or the inclination to put pen to paper.

Looking at my paper diary the entries are empty.

I’ve felt numb.

23 years and now just an empty hole.

Writing is something I love doing.

Naturally, I lost my way with it in the last 2 months.

What I’ve realised is that writing is something that requires practice or you lose the ability to communicate.

I’ve always been authentic in what I write, so my 1st blog in 2 months is this one – “Grief In The Social Media Age”.

I hope that in the coming months I discover that passion for writing again as the creative spark isn’t there in relation to business right now.

I’M GLAD SOCIAL MEDIA EXISTS, SO I DON’T NEED TO TALK
I look at the home phone. I’ve never used it. It doesn’t ring. I’m glad it doesn’t ring.

People are respecting and not calling on the mobile.

I don’t want to talk to people.

I definitely don’t want to see people apart from the inner circle.

I’m glad that social media provides us with some form of distancing.

A shield I can use to reply to people in my own time.

I know I’ve not messaged everyone back and it’s not expected, but I prefer the inobtrusive nature of social media, texts and WhatsApp messages.

There’s only one person I want to call and we can’t anymore – we used to chat everyday on the phone. 365 days a year. Sometimes a few times a day. It’s a huge gap to fill. And what I realise looking back is the phone calls were never the gaps. Everything else was the gap between the phone calls and meet ups.

THERE ARE NEVER ENOUGH MEMORIES
I wish we’d have taken more photos.

Lockdown was a blessing in one way. We documented everything from the walks to the pubs / restaurants reopening.

50% of our photos must have been taken during lockdown.

I look at Facebook Memories every day expecting to see his name. Expecting to see a photo of a night out. I don’t see Mark’s name as often as I’d expect. We didn’t document everything we did, as we did days and nights out in Altrincham so often. Every moment so special, but not special enough to document with a photo.

I think a lot about how many photos I have with my parents. There aren’t that many. Maybe 5% of what I had with mark. My parents aren’t of the social media age. They don’t like having that many photos taken. I’ve mentioned this before to them, but there won’t be many family photos together to look back on.

Take photos. Back them up. Print them out.

You’ll regret it if you don’t. Don’t be that person that refuses a photo, because that’s all someone will have left.

The memories bring me comfort. I smile looking at them. The loss is that there won’t be any more.

THERE ARE CONSTANT REMINDERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
And it’s comforting.

Twitter was a big part of what brought Mark joy.

The tweets that made him laugh so much that he shared them over on Facebook for close friends to enjoy.

At least 2 or 3 times a day I see something on Twitter that makes me laugh and I smile at how Mark would have 100% retweeted that or messaged me privately.

Humour is a great comfort. A big warm hug.

It’s mainly happy moments that I’ve sought out, but on the flipside seeing Richard E. Grant’s videos about his recent loss have brought it crashing back home. The reality of day to day dealing grief and trying to eloquently explain to others.

We often talk about social media dividing people, but it also brings people together.

I feel closer to those that update social media regularly, even though it’s just an online / digital connection.

I FEEL GUILTY FOR POSTING ABOUT “NORMAL THINGS” … EVERYTHING FEELS FAKE
Should I be posting about gigs?
The cinema?
Running?

There have been 2 Saturdays where I haven’t packed my days with “Normal Things” and I couldn’t sleep at all.

Doing stuff has been a coping mechanism.

And I’ve always used social media as a diary for my day to day life that I can look back on and think of the memories.

Each time I’ve posted about life, I’ve felt guilty. Should I really be doing this right now? Should I be out as normal? I know Mark would want me to keep on doing stuff that makes me happy and not sat at home crying all day. I tell myself that so often.

And that’s the issue.

Everything feels fake. You only see the highlights on social media. You don’t see the part where something triggers me and I end up crying. That’s happening daily. You don’t see the walking through Altrincham to the supermarket praying I don’t bump into anyone I have to have a conversation with. Manchester City Centre is an escape. There aren’t as many memories there.

It makes you acutely away how those who are smiling on social media may be going through the worst time of their life.

We know so much about people, and yet we know nothing.

I’M NOT OK
“Are you ok?”
“Are you coping?”
“Is there anything I can do?”
“I’m here if you want to talk”

I must have been asked those 100’s of times now.

I know I’ve asked people them before.

It’s the default questions and I’m not sure whether there is a better alternative.

People tell me it will get better and I know from seeing how other people cope, it does.

I know these 1st twelve months will be the hardest. Christmas. New Year. Birthdays. The anniversary. The holidays. The places we went week in week out.

There will come a time when people stop asking “Are you ok?”

I don’t think I’ll ever be OK. I’ll just function better and cope better.

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