I’m 61. My Mum died last year at 89, and my Dad is 91, but very unwell and not likely to be around this Christmas. It’s scary when your parents are dying. Most of my friends have lost both parents by this age. I’ve been lucky to have had them around for so long.
Of course I feel sad, but facing death must be the last passage of adult awareness. We don’t talk about it much, but I’ve decided to make it a subject of contemplation from now on.
If you have attended a funeral you may have experienced the feeling that people come closer and are more forgiving towards each other afterwards. It can be an uplifting experience, cathartic even. Sometimes this is only temporary as I found recently after a friend died. Our group were closer for a while, but it didn’t last, unfortunately. However, I’m not here to judge, I will just accept this and move on.
As I’m ageing I plan to observe this process with interest. I have maybe 10 – 20 good years to enjoy life. The last ten years probably won’t be too great, but I must accept that when it comes.
So this is where gratitude comes in. As I sit here looking out at my unruly garden, I can pick up the first hint of spring blossoms in the air. (I’m in the Southern Hemisphere) Last night we had a drop of rain and it’s misty this morning.
I’ve had all sorts of dreams, all sorts of striving recently. I could have done many impulsive things – sell the house, sell all the stuff, downsize, travel, live like a gypsy….but after being away just one week I came home and really began to appreciate my life just as it is.
Many people would love to do what I do. I work from home, we have a lovely acreage property and we live near a provincial town which has all we could want or need, close at hand. People here are good and honest on the whole, and are as friendly as you could find them anywhere.
I’ve got excellent health. I tend to overeat a bit and indulge in a bit too much wine on occasions, but I have very few aches and pains, and I’m fit enough to be able do what I want. Of course I’d like to look younger – who doesn’t? But plastic surgery, from what I’ve seen, is folly. You end up looking like an old person with tight skin. So, I’m grateful that I have a brain that still works, a smile that still occurs, and lots of laughter. I have people who love me for who I am, no matter how I look.
Creativity is my greatest gift. I love to create something from clay, or fabric which is unique. I don’t care if the item wins a prize in a competition, I make it for my own pleasure and if other people like it, well and good! Of course it would be nice to be successful in this field, but this is not needed for me to be happy.
Not any more.
I no longer envy those who appear to have it all. I cannot know what their lives are like. Who knows who will die young, or lose a child? Who knows what sadnesses they might have have endured? Material possessions are no protector from grief. No one can escape that, and neither should they be able to. Life would have no meaning.
Death will be on my mind from now on. When I start to worry about something, I will ask myself: “Will this matter in 100 years? Will anyone care?”
Because now is all we have. Experience the now, each day. Have some fun, smell the roses, share laughter, create something beautiful, whether it be a painting, a garden, a meal, a lovely room to be in, or just a series a lovely thoughts. Enjoy reading, enjoy good movies or TV, enjoy travelling, enjoy learning. Practise random acts of kindness, speak to someone you’ve never met before, spend quality time with your pet cat or dog, take home a puppy, plant flowers…….
Life and death are intertwined. I am so grateful to be alive.