Remember to say thank you

Roald Dahl quote

My aunt doesn’t read this blog but she knows everything that I write on it because her best friend Diane calls her and reads each post verbatim. Diane has been this blog’s biggest supporter from as soon as I started it in 2012. She leaves comments telling me how wonderful she thinks it is, and how proud my Mum would be. Her cheerleading has aways made me smile.

But Diane won’t be reading this post over the phone. I went to her funeral this week and said goodbye to one of the kindest women I’ve ever known. She was the sort of person who always said the kind thoughts that were on her mind, paying attention to those around her and saying, with genuine feeling: “You look beautiful”, “You’re lovely”, “I think you’re wonderful”. Everyone at the funeral had stories of Diane’s kindness. She spread love wherever she went, and it made me think about how often we don’t say the things we feel.

Bloggers often talk about their “real readers” being the ones they don’t know, but blogs are also about writing for the people we do know, keeping us in touch with loved ones from afar. I’ve always been surprised, and touched, when I return home from a long trip to find that friends, and even friends of friends, seem to know what I’ve been up to. Most of them (you?) never comment, but I find you’re reading there silently in the sidelines. I’m also often a silent reader so I appreciate the reasons behind that. This isn’t a post about asking people to comment on Bridges and Balloons (!); it’s about me remembering to say thank you to you.

Thank you

Because I don’t think I said enough thank yous to Diane. I wish I’d sent birthday cards or even postcards to say hello. Her support meant a huge amount to me and I’m not sure she knew how much. Whenever it’s too late, there are always things I wish I had done. I learnt that when my Dad died when I was 17, and again when my Mum and Nan died six years ago. Regret is futile, but you can transform it into good by acting on its lessons.

I sometimes write notes to my friends’ parents to say thank you for creating such amazing human beings. I try to say compliments whenever they arise, and send messages to say hello. But I’m also terrible with birthdays; I have messages I haven’t replied to for months; and friends I’m losing touch with. It’s hard to keep up with everything, and undoubtedly new regrets are starting to pile.

Some people would say I need to cut down on the number of people in my life; just concentrate on those that are closest. It’s true that I do perhaps need to pay more attention to my nearest and dearest, but I won’t be cutting people out. After 32 years of life and a lot of moving about, I have friends who mean a lot to me all over the world. To say thank you to many of them would just involve a short note – a hello, thinking of you, remember this? – and for others, it means setting up reminders of important dates, and remembering to send a note. It’s a lot about creating habits. It takes effort, but it’s worth it.

Thank you

So today, I’m starting here. Thank you to every single one of you for reading this blog. Whether we’re related, friends, or have never met at all, your support in reading this blog means so much. It always shocks me to see how many people read each post. I still struggle with thinking the whole thing’s indulgent, so thank you for proving me wrong.

And finally, thank you Diane. This blog has lost its biggest fan and the world has lost a beautiful soul. Rest in peace and fly free.

8 thoughts on “Remember to say thank you”

  1. So sorry for your loss. She sounds like a woman we should all strive to be more like.

    Thank you for your beautiful stories.

    Reply
  2. I’m one of your biggest fans too, but I’m really bad at leaving comments. I’m so sorry to hear about Diane’s death. You’re absolutely right to remind us how important it is to try to find the time to stay in touch with special people, and to say thank you. x

    Reply
  3. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of such a wonderful woman from your life, Victoria. But, if there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that the people in our lives like your Diane—the ones who are unfailingly kind & generous—always seem to know how much they mean to others, even if we don’t tell them as much as they deserved. From the sounds of those who gathered for her funeral, it seems like her life was filled with many wonderful people who loved her very much. Just as Diane told you how proud your mum would have been of you today, I am pretty sure that embodying her open hearted kindness and “paying it forward” as it were is the best way to keep Diane’s memory alive and continue to make the both of them proud.

    Reply
  4. Like many others, I read, ponder, debate, but rarely write. I do so much enjoy reading your blog, I know it to be written in a truly honest and heartfelt way. Travelling is more that just recommending a destinations. Keep doing what you do so wonderfully.

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  5. Beautifully said, Victoria. Diane often told me about your blog; she thoroughly enjoyed reading all about your adventures, and she was so proud of you. It gave her great pleasure to know that you were happy and enjoying life xx

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  6. I’m sorry about Diane. I’m sure she knew that you appreciated her support. She sounds like such an amazing woman. And thank YOU for the reminder to tell those we love and appreciate how much they matter. We only have so many days.

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  7. Hi Victoria,

    I read every single one of your posts since I discovered your blog, but this is the first time I have commented. This one made me teary-eyed. I am sorry for your loss, Diane sounds like an amazing, kind-hearted woman.

    Thank you to you too for your beautiful writing, which I always look forward to reading! This has made me think a lot and I hope to be more expressive too of how grateful I am for those around me.

    Carla

    Reply

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