Day 2528 – Day 2542
Last time, I wrote, I had experienced 4 deaths within a week. One death had happened prior to that week, but I found out about it the same day as the other 3. It was a pretty crumby weekend. It wasn’t just because I was mourning my loss of people who have not been in my inner circle for some time, but also because it reverberated for me the pending mourning I will experience soon with 3 people who are in my inner circle. This is what I felt the most as I descended into a heavy sadness over that weekend, following the news.
I think that in order for us to be truly thankful for the things that come our way – from a great job with wonderful pay to the simple and sublime pleasure of a sunset – we need to have an appreciation of our own mortality. I suspect that is why gratitude is something we seem to adopt as we mature. Children can be astonishingly grateful as well and this is probably due to the novelty of everything for them. When everything is new and amazing it’s pretty easy to be excited about life and grateful. Maybe this is also coupled with the facts that they are extremely pliable and can be taught gratitude, as well as the fact that they depend on others for everything. When they start to individuate, they become the centre of the universe and entitled. Maybe it takes some hard knocks, on their own, to teach gratitude. But this is all conjecture. I’ve never really researched the science behind gratitude in children. I’m just going from my own limited observation.
One thing I’ve learned from experience is that when we realize how quick this life passes us by and how easily things can change in an instant, it compels us to act now on the things that really matter – like saying I love you or expressing thanks.
Since that last post, I have been researching G to see if his wife still lives in the same place as before. I learned last night that one of his surviving relatives passed away 5 days ago. So, the push is on to find her address and drop her a note. It would have been better if I could have thanked G himself for being so kind to me but I’d like to make sure that his wife gets the boost of someone caring enough to write to her and let her know how he is missed.
I attended the funeral of HM via live stream. There were a few things I didn’t know about him. I spent a little while trying to remember how he and I had become so close. We weren’t the kind of personalities you would naturally put together. But then I remembered that there was a common link between us – he had been friends with a boy I loved. TK came from the other side of the tracks but was probably the smartest guy I’ve ever met – and knowing the folks I’ve met, that is saying a lot. HM and TK were friends and enjoyed camping together and TK and I had a love of words. TK died before he reached the age of 18 and both HM and I remembered him with love, whenever we talked. The death of HM made me regret that we never had that one last conversation and now I wish it had included a remembrance of our shared times together with TK.
There is something really striking to me about the way that people seem to fade into oblivion, when the people who shared your stories with them are no longer alive. When I heard of G’s death, I was desperate to find someone who remembered the time I worked for the Titanic folks so that I could hold on to G (and that part of my own life) for a few moments longer.
When someone dies, that part of ourselves that shared a story gets cut off.
There are not many people in my life that I’ve cut off. But there is one that I can think of right now, and another who – while not cut off, has been banished to the outer periphery of my life. I vowed that I would never be in touch again with the person I cut off. And maybe I won’t be. But, now is the time to really consider if there is anything I would regret not having said, if I were to get the bad news that life had suddenly changed in a way to make that last conversation impossible. There is always a time and place for things but the sad fact is that we don’t ever know when that particular time has run out.
Although this has been a sad few weeks, I am grateful for the reminder that life is short. Enjoy every day. Eat dessert, first.
For what are you most grateful, today?