So, it was or rather it would have been my second wedding anniversary this week. I don’t know how these things work when I am now a widow. I knew it would be hard so I told people that I would be struggling. Through talking to people about not being ok, I was gifted so much kindness and care. Friends and colleagues reached out to me, checked in, kept me company, ensured I could talk, be, cry, reminisce, laugh and be alive in the moment.

And yet, I am not talking about other things I am struggling with. Things that I would have talked to Jane about. Things I am trying to understand, motives, meanings. I really do not understand the games people play in everyday life. I do get political games, work games, just not people playing games to avoid being honest. And yet, and yet, I didn’t want to hurt someone this week. So I wasn’t open and honest with them. Interestingly, what I should have said is no longer relevant as my emotions and thoughts have moved on.

I wonder if this why so many people are not open and honest, because they know that with time and space, many of those difficult conversations will no longer be needed. The importance disintegrated, replaced with new temporary issues. Maybe, it is not that people are playing games or being dishonest, but that they have enough insight to know the futility of talking when that may hurt someone.

Not talking can also hurt people though. And talking can be a big part of the journey to connect with others. Today, I talked to my son, my nephew and three of my closest friends. Each interaction helped me to be present, to be alive in the moment and connected to life, to someone. I also talked to someone that I have a difficult relationship with. Someone that I work out how to interact with by reflecting that Buddha has sent them to teach me patience and compassion.

And then there is the talking that is unnecessary; spiteful, hate-filled or defensive and hurtful. I was saddened to hear the hurt inflected on two of my friends this week, by cruel and spiteful words hurled at them. Listening, truly listening, seemed to help, to ease some of the torment. Listening by text and in person are quite different, and for some people, one can be as effective as the other, but for others, only one will work.

I have lots of people who will listen, if only I keep talking to them. Sometimes though, it is just too hard to talk. I just want to retreat into my shell, put my walls up and hide. I know that I am doing this off and on at the moment, telling family I can’t catch up for a meal this week. Which is weird, because I am not busy and I love to eat. I just haven’t got the energy to be interactive outside of work all the time.

I am comforted that I have other autistic friends who truly understand this retreat and can sense when I might need to be rescued, as I can sense for them. I am not sure who was rescuing who when we went to the beach late at night on Friday (photo above) and then went hiking in the drizzle today. I do know that we both felt better for the trips and the talking/listening, because they were without judgement but with honesty. My friends hold me to account gently and kindly, without judgement and with love. But they will make sure that I reflect and hold myself to account. There are no valid reasons for being unkind, excuses, but no valid reasons. Mostly my friends want me to be ok, to find happiness again in the future, to reach out and share my sadness and my joy. And I, I want for them to be content in their lives, to know when things are good and when they are not, to know that I am there for them and that the bad times always ease eventually.

Be kind in the ways you talk to others, be gentle in your thoughts. If you haven’t got any kind words, try to keep the words to yourself. Not talking is better than hurtful talking. And thank you to all those who reached out to me during this difficult week, spent time with me, talked with me, connected with me, it was appreciated more than you can know.

As an aside, one of the blog readers asked me to write a book, using these blog posts and some stories about and from Jane. I did and the book has now been published and is available for sale: