Bookends of the Year

While I’m not out on the razzle-dazzle, New Year’s Eve is a pretty big deal for me for a whole host of reasons. Lots of key things seem to have happened on New Year’s Eves over the years so it’s kind of etched in my heart.

I see New Year’s Eve as being like a book-end holding in all the moments from a particular year. I took a look at how I started 2016 here on Social Bridge and found that it was an urging to self to Smile more. I’ve tried and it does work reasonably well but forced smiles are no good! Here’s the post, just in case you want to have a read.

I made it my business to try and see the sunrise and the sunset of today and, of course, there was the Wishing Stone Ritual.

Here’s how the day looked when it greeted me down the beach:

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Sunrise over Tramore Bay 

There was a softness in the air that made it feel more like a Summer’s morning than the depths of Winter. I was surrounded by seagulls and I rather like this photo (that Dad would certainly have condemned to the ‘Dud’ category.) There’s something surreal about it New Year’s Eve can feel surreal:

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‘Old time he is a flying…’

Now to the Wishing Stones. I’m delighted to report that we are just back from the casting. I had gone out to Newtown Cove earlier in the day to collect the stones for everyone who had requested that I cast one for them. It was really nice to have the time to ‘browse’ on the shore and select the stones which I felt matched the people that I was picking them for. I placed them all in a little nook in the rocks as I collected them. You’d be amazed how particular stones pushed themselves forward as being suitable for the individuals I have come to know through ‘blogland.’ Here is a photo of the stash:

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The Wishing Stones

It was like the day got into a sulk at sunset time and it just clouded over and we had no dramatic sunset at all.

Tonight, son, Harry,  and I went out to Newtown Cove and cast our own stones as well as those of people from all over the globe who had requested that I cast one for them. It was beyond magical. There was a poignant moment as I cast one in memory of our beloved Paul Curran, who died earlier in the year but who touched the hearts of so many of us here on WordPress. He adored the ocean and it felt so right to give his stone a little kiss of remembrance from us all.

So, the midnight hour is approaching here in Tramore and I would like to wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2017. Also, I would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive in 2016 in all sorts of different ways.

Finally, may I say, that I still think that we need to Smile, Smile, Smile as much as we can but always be true to ourselves and to others in those smiles. A sincere smile can light up a person’s day …

Here’s smiling at you as I raise my glass to 2017!

 

 

 

 

Grief and Online Friends

Social media, and especially blogging, allows for the development of close bonds and friendships with people we may never have the pleasure of meeting in person. Such people can play a hugely important role in our lives and relationships are built around shared interests.

In some cases, people that we grow close to online can be enormously supportive in our lives. The very fact that they live thousands of miles away but are still there with words of kindness, fun, advice and friendship makes them all the more special. They don’t care how much money we have or don’t have; what we look like; how we’re dressed ….. they see straight into our minds and hearts through our words and photographs and they care about us, just as we care about them.

There’s no easy way to learn that any friend has died. The passing of online friends can sometimes happen without us ever hearing about it. They just go silent. In other cases, we learn the sad news via other online friends or acquaintances and there is a horrible sense of shock and helplessness. There’s nowhere to go with a plate of sandwiches or an address to which to send a sympathy card ~ there’s just a vacuum. That vacuum is when you are in the non-virtual’ world and occurs because one’s nearest and dearest are unlikely to have had any connection or possibly knowledge of the online friend who has died.

But, there can be great communities of support in some cases when a much loved online friend dies. This has been the case in recent days with the sad passing of Paul Curran, who was such a good blogging friend to some many of us here on WordPress.

I can’t remember when Paul first came into my life ~ I guess it was three or four years ago. He was one of those people who commented on my blog on a very regular basis and I loved to read the Sunday guest posts which he wrote on Willow’s and then Mark’s blogs.

Paul was a Canadian man with a huge heart. He had lived a life of adventure and ups and downs and was a true fighter when it came to the illnesses with which he had to grapple. Most of all he was a man who had a love of life ~ down to the simplest of things.

He was man enough to be able to laugh at himself and shed tears for those he felt were less fortunate than himself. He spread hope wherever he went in blogland with his wise and well-chosen words.

So, how do you cope when someone as significant as this dies?  I wish Paul was around to give an answer to this question!

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Paul Curran (RIP)

My sense is that, like any other death, you’ve got to give time a chance to let the reality of the situation sink in and also do what one can to remember the person as they have suggested they would like to be remembered.

What Paul’s comments always suggested to me was that he longed to be at the ocean ~ and he was soon to be there if he had just lived a little longer.

He would also want openness ~ yes, Paul, I have shed tears knowing that you are gone from us and I’ve given Puppy Stan, whom you loved, a special cuddle. I’ve also read back over some of your comments and smiled, pondered, wondered, smiled again.

One thing I DO know is that just because you were an online friend doesn’t make you any less a friend than a ‘real’ one. I know I will think of you when I’m by the sea or old places that you always thought were awesome. I’ll give a little wave to truck drivers as they pass me by and think of all your adventures.

You can be damn sure, I won’t ever forget you and I know that there are many, many others all around the world whose lives you touched who feel just like I do tonight.

Rest Peacefully, Paul, and know that you have made more of a difference than you could ever, ever know.

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The Seashore of Love