Thought for the week: Elaine Bright loves a four-letter word
The smell of aircraft fuel in the morning; a packed train with everyone in their own space; the fumes on the Euston Road: I never imagined I would miss these.
Working from home and keeping a distance from colleagues, friends and family is harder than I thought. Just being with people is what I like most of all, I have concluded. But we Brits are not very tactile, unlike perhaps some other Europeans. We are more suited to a firm handshake, or maybe, at a push, a peck on the cheek.
This made me think of my son’s wedding. He was married in a lovely part of France, to a beautiful young woman, on 24 June 2016. We woke up on the day of the wedding to find that the UK had voted to leave the EU. That could make it an interesting day, we thought. In this part of France they do the three-kisses-and-a-hug greeting. So it was amusing to watch my family and friends get caught in the trap of first offering a hand, having it gripped, and then having their whole body pulled in for the full three kisses. Some French family members got a bit more than they had anticipated!
At the reception the Frenchies (as they were referring to themselves) sang en masse to the bride and ‘Les Rosbifs’ (as they were referring to us). ‘La Vie En Rose’ was the song – and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It made us all realise that, at the end of the day, love is everything. Love makes us optimistic, and makes us see everything tinted with joy and happiness. And love is not rationed. Stock up!
At this time though, death seems to be making a random selection. I felt something similar a few years ago when my dad suffered a savage stroke. When the ambulance crew were taking him out he said, looking at my mother: ‘It’s her cooking finally finished me off.’ I looked at my dad and replied: ‘It was never her strong point.’ It was a fitting final exchange between us, which reflected our fun relationship. He died on his own – but not alone, we were all there in spirit.
Will we return to the simple days of 2019? Who knows. But one thing I am sure of: I will hug more and love more.
When things get tough I always think it could be worse: I could have been stuck in Peru without flights at the World Plenary.
Elaine is the finance officer at The Friend Publications Limited, and also at Friends World Committee for Consultation.
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