While I am usually a very positive person, due to recent events, it struck me that from time to time we are all reminded of our own mortality. Now it’s not to be morbid, because I truly believe that death is a natural part of life. Not that it is usually something we dwell too much upon, but it will show itself to us from time to time. To this, we should not be afraid to look at it, ponder it and accept it for what it is. After all, it is the one thing that no one can escape, no matter who they are. (Or how much money they have)
When heartache calls.
It often comes out of the blue. The unexpected passing of a loved one seems to have a gravitas like no other. Provoking a reflection upon the recently lost relationship, its ups and downs and always, the hardest part, the ‘if only’s’. Sadly, it tends to be a one-sided affair because the person lost no longer has a voice or any input to the relationship. It is left up to us to rationalise the queries and responses. Calling into question our past actions or reactions, our kindnesses, or peccadillos. Usually with the unhelpful addition of a strange, aching, pain in our heart.
Grief is personal.
I was about fifteen when I first heard this expression and at the time, thought that it made no sense. However, about ten years later when I lost my mother and barely six months later, my father, watching my siblings’ reactions to the whole shit show (excuse me, but it really was one), I finally began to understand. How we react, what we feel, say or think is different for everyone. Our initial response to the news of a loved one passing can often appear ‘odd’ to an observer. Yet, the tsunami of emotions inside, will like its natural namesake, take its time to find its own way out and nothing will stop it.
What about when you know that it’s coming?
I have found this to be a strange dichotomy. You know in advance that you may well be losing a loved one. You know this person so well and can see they look drained, tired, almost utterly defeated. Yet everyone around them, including themselves, has hope. It is a real roller coaster of emotions. A glimmer of light, followed by the harsh reality of a diagnosis and the inevitable, accompanying statistics. From everything being fine to a somewhat fatal outlook, in just a few short weeks. What started as a routine test, suddenly becomes major surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy.
A fresher outlook?
As time races forever forward, I find myself heading towards my sixtieth year birthday and not for the first time, potentially facing a loss. For me, losing a loved one really sucks. But then I am a big hearted, old softy. Yet I am also reminded that our time on this world is short lived. Firstly, trust me, when I say that there have been times in my life where I have been a major procrastinator. Worried about doing the wrong thing, so doing nothing is better, isn’t it? Second, whenever I have chosen to take action, it has always been a riot and the outcome has been fantastic. And yes, I have made some awesome mistakes in my time, but truly, I only regret the things I haven’t done.
Time for a new adventure.
In conclusion, getting a reminder that we are all mortal is perhaps a good thing. Knowing that we can all get caught being ‘comfortable’. Sitting in a nice place, enjoying our life as much as we can. Then before we know it, we are sixty, seventy or eighty and have let our golden years slip by. Not me. For the first time in a long time, I am starting a new adventure. The wife and I have agreed that we want an exciting last quarter, not a quiet one. Who knows where we will end up? But we are both confident and certain that we will embrace the future, with whatever it holds, as we charge headlong into it, feeling excited, scared, positive and hopeful.
P.S. Fear and excitement are the same feeling in your body. It is only your brains interpretation that counts.