LIFE, DEATH & GRATITUDE

The Easter weekend has come and gone. How the days fly! As I write this thousands are heading home after time away although we have another long weekend coming up and then a bit of a drought in terms of days off. The Royal Wedding adds its own excitement to this week – only the Brits know how to do pomp and ceremony. I am an unashamed Royalist and I just love the build-up, the sense of history in the making, the ancient traditions and rituals that have endured, as well as all the glamour and glitz that Catherine Middleton will bring to the House of Windsor! What a gorgeous girl! So I am taking Friday off and will revel in the joy and happiness of the day – after all, don’t we secretly relish a good love story and especially with two such good looking young people? How can we not get caught up in the festivities of the day as the ceremony is beamed around the world and into our living rooms, restaurants, pubs?

This past Easter weekend I was poignantly reminded of the fragility of life and how quickly it can all change. During a lazy Saturday afternoon lunch with friends I received a frantic phone call from someone I know, only just met recently. Her elder brother had gone missing after a game of golf. Literally just disappeared into thin air. When he failed to open his business on Saturday morning, the family knew something was very wrong. I can only imagine how agonizing the next couple of days were as the search continued and they waited for news, ever hopeful. What should have been a happy, joyous Easter weekend family gathering was anything but. Finally, on Monday morning, I received an SMS stating simply that he had been found dead, murdered. Every day we read in the paper or hear on the news about people dying. It isn’t a new thing, it’s a part of life and unfortunately, in the world we live in, violent death has become commonplace. In fact I would go as far as to say we have in many ways become desensitized to it. But when it happens to someone you know, when you can feel their pain, their despair, their gut-wrenching grief, the reaction is visceral. It becomes real, not just another statistic.

As I wrote in my Journal on Monday night, I thought about the duality of this world we live in. At the end of this Easter weekend while many are celebrating, enjoying time off, relaxing, many are mourning – lives and families shattered because someone never made it home or has suffered serious, life-changing injury. What’s worse, I wondered? Knowing, or not knowing. How endless that waiting must be, jumping with nerves at every phone call or message alert. Playing out possible scenarios in one’s head. Hoping. Praying. (Funny how most of us are quick to pray, even the most cynical, when something is outside of our control).

Death is, of course, a natural part of the cycle. We are born, we live, we die. Some sooner than others. Some shockingly and unexpectedly. I stopped writing for a moment and turned to look at my husband sleeping peacefully beside me (he has this knack of getting into bed and as his head hits the pillow he falls asleep. I wish!). As I watched him sleep, a feeling of incredible gratitude welled up inside me. Gratitude for being alive and having those I care for deeply alive too. Gratitude at an Easter weekend shared with family and friends. As I had felt my friend’s pain and grief, so now I felt a deep love and sense of gratitude wash over me. There are thousands of songs and poems and writings that urge us to live every day as if it was our last, appreciate what we have while we have it, stop sweating the small stuff….in fact it can become something of a cliché. But in that quiet moment late at night in my bedroom I really FELT it. I FELT the magnitude of the gift that is life. And you know what? If I cannot live my life for myself, I can certainly live it and embrace it and BE IN IT for all those who no longer have that privilege. Can you??

Stay blessed. Di

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