One of the things I love about writing this column each week is the way I find certain themes kind of following me around. Or maybe I’m following them, who knows but it forces me to really explore my thoughts on the ‘thing’ of the week.
The last week has been the subject of death. The death of Julia Gillard’s father, and the death of the popular John McCarthy. Ironically today I am in the amazing city of Rome, and everywhere you go here, there are historical stories of death.
Death often falls into different categories. The tragic death, the natural end of their life death, and then the legendary death.
We’ve all had to really embrace the feelings of tragic death with the passing of John McCarthy. It just never seems to make any sense when the world loses a man of his age, even though young people die every single day. Because most of us expect that we’re in this life until our 80’s, but a lot of us are not. I wonder though if we didn’t have this unrealistic idea of how long we’re here for if we’d live our lives any differently?
When a young person dies, the wrap sheet of things they could have done, won’t able to do now flashes up in our minds, and that’s heart breaking whether you knew the person or not.
What is far easier to get your head around, because it’s what we do expect as part of the life plan, is when we hear someone has lost their parent as Julia Gillard did recently. Although I’m sure the last thing she wanted was having her photograph taken in those first days after his death, I’m kind of glad we got to see her so raw.
And not because she’s normally tough, I just think it showed me and hopefully others that at the end of the day, at the end of someone you loves’ life, we’re all just humans getting on with whatever we feel we’re here for. When a chapter like a parent finishes, it stops us in our tracks and reminds us that life isn’t something to take for granted. Life isn’t always a given. As they say, we’re all on borrowed time.
I remember my mother telling me when her father died how angry and hurt she was that everyone seemed to go on as normal weeks after his death. Although he was a hugely popular man, with over 700 hundred people turning up to his funeral, the world kept turning after many paid tribute. But not so much for mum.
I’m not sure if it was before or after my much loved Nana died about 15 years ago but I decided that when it comes to family, certainly my parents I wanted to always try and rise above pointless issues. The way I saw it, and again this is that old presuming I’ll be around after they go, but if something happened to them before the expected time I don’t want to live with any regrets. In a less than poetic way of thinking, I don’t want to be left rotting in ‘what ifs’.
I think at some point in our lives, it’s about trying to apply sooner rather than later, the concept of giving up the fight and the letting go of your opinion to what’s fair.
And then the bucket list. Why do so many of us come up with the things to do before I die when we get closer to the expected time we’re going to die? Why not just have a constant bucket list on the go? Because the reality of life is that every day is an extra one you may not have had.
Putting off telling someone you love them because you can’t push past the awkwardness of saying it just isn’t going to cut it if they go and you never got there.
The topic of death shouldn’t just be contemplated in the times that it’s in your face. It should really be the framework of how we live each day.
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