Passing

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Someone I’ve known for over a decade recently passed away. They were a colleague and a friend. Although I would question whether I was as good a friend as I could have been when they needed it.

That’s what death does. It makes you question everything. Even if you didn’t know the person well, it makes you think about your life, your loved ones, the inevitability of it all. It’ll come knocking for us all at some point, some too soon and others not soon enough.

When I heard the news of this particular passing, I was shocked. I hadn’t seen it coming, I don’t think they did either, which perhaps is a blessing for them but not for those that are left behind who may have acted differently knowing they were about to lose someone.

The initial conversation when I was told didn’t make me cry or shake or sick. I was just numb because it doesn’t feel real. It’s just words that someone is saying. It starts to become real in the hours and days that pass when no one turns up to take it back, they’re not dead, it was a lie, a cruel joke, all is well with the world. But no one comes.

And as the reality set in, I started to get this burning sensation behind my eyes, the threat of tears imminent. The burning behind my eyes, moved to a tingling across my cheeks and a heaviness on my chest and the dawning of what it all means. No more.

The person that has gone won’t ever cry again, walk again, smile again. Their part in this world just stopped. If they’re a celebrity then thousands, maybe millions are affected and remember them with candlelit vigils and tattoos and Facebook posts. But for the average person, your family and friends, your small part of this Earth is the only thing that is affected. Your chance to make a bigger mark has gone.

I went for a walk not long after finding out. Strange that I’d never accidentally bump into them as I left our workplace or on the way to the toilets. Gone, just gone.

On my walk I was listening to some music, the first song that came on was One Shot by Mabel. I think the song is more about one shot to shoot your shot but the title and some of the lyrics could not be more true of how we should live life.

You only get one shot to get this right. And every time there is a death of a friend or a friend of a friend (I’m lucky, I haven’t had much experience of grief compared to others thus far), it makes you think…hard.

While you’re walking around with this weight dragging you down, the people you walk past may not be feeling this awful feeling, in fact, they could be having the best day of their life. How dare they! But in a few months, maybe even weeks, you’ll be back to life thinking about the loss less and less.

The person that passed was lovely. I know people very rarely say anything bad about someone after they’ve died, even retro fitting a more positive narrative into a space that may not deserve it, it’s what we do to honour the dead. But they were truly a lovely person. They bought my kids chocolates out of the goodness of their heart just because it was something silly like a Tuesday. I freely admit that I’m not that thoughtful. Sometimes acts like that go over my head, I wouldn’t even necessarily think to do it.

I didn’t go to bed the day I was told crying myself to sleep, the close family and friends probably did though. As much as we know death comes for us all, it’s still a shock, it’s still sad, it’s still the end. I may not have cried but I definitely held my kids a fraction tighter. I hope I don’t stop that but most likely I will, we’re all guilty of taking our good health, lives and loved ones for granted.

I wish we could make a deal with our maker for 100 years. You know exactly how long you’ve got. You’ve got time to learn and time to enjoy everything, anything. Because we’d know when we’re going, we could have a big party to celebrate life with your loved ones around you at the end. A fitting end to a life lived well and not wasted.

It shouldn’t be what we have now. It shouldn’t be this because it’s not fair. I feel like I spend so much time regretting and not enough time enjoying. I should really take this time to honour the deaths of those around me by living better.

xx woeful writes xx

JF

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