Today is R U OK day.
I pay attention to this day every year however this year it is particularly important to me.
Earlier this year a friend of mine committed suicide. Needless to say he had a rough trot and ultimately could not find any other way to find peace. I think about him often, and wonder if he had the opportunity to really deal with the issues he faced. Being a male did he find it harder to talk about what was going on and decided to keep the extent of his concerns bottled in? The last time I saw him we shared an amazing bottle of red, and we did discuss some of his previous challenges. What I didn’t know was how much they still haunted him. I don’t have the answers to many questions I would love to ask him but I do know that he was surrounded by people who loved him and were shocked and devastated by his passing. People who did, or would have, listened to the answer to R U OK – no matter how raw the answer may be.
As important as it is to ask R U OK and start the conversation, it’s important to continue having meaningful conversations all year round.
I’m a ridiculously lucky SOB and am surrounded by people who love and accept me as I am. I’ve had some challenges this year, and for the first time, have truly needed my friends. Not just need them, but they have literally supported me. They have been my legs and carried me when I couldn’t carry myself.
One friend in particular, a true soul mate (Hey, Fi!) and one of the loves of my life, would call me once, twice, or as many times a day as I needed. To talk, to cry, to vent my anger. She would listen, discuss, encourage and follow up. After our kooky greetings, she would always say “How are you?” It would usually be followed with “Talk to me” or ” Tell me, what’s going on?”.
For that, I will always be grateful. Always.
So please do ask your friends how they are. Sometimes you know if they are having a shit time, and other times, you won’t – so go on, ask the question. You may never know the difference you’re making to someones life.
For more information about the R U OK campaign click here.