Today I am being challenged in the most awful way. A beautiful friend of mine has passed away, after the bravest battle of cancer aged 41yrs.
Her initial diagnosis last September was impossibly grim, with only 6 weeks to live. Her amazing determination just refused to accept that, and she managed to last seven months, precious time with her family, making memories and saying all those things we never say until we have to.
She leaves behind her darling husband and three boys aged 6, 11 and 14. On days like this it is difficult to understand how the world works, why good people leave our earth and some not-so-great people stay around til they're 90. In the laws of fairness it seems very very unbalanced. Everything in me wants to look up to the heavens and shout " What are you thinking up there??".
I don't understand, and I am struggling to accept.
However, I am also trying to hold onto all the wonderful positive memories of this woman.
The knowledge that she was an awesome Mum and those boys will never ever doubt her love for them.
She and her husband had a beautiful marriage and friendship. They laughed alot together and parented as a united team. I know she had every confidence that he will continue raising the boys in the same way they chose together. They were at every kids football game, tennis game, school play and athletics carnival. I loved the way she spoke to her kids, and could laugh at silly mistakes rather than be angry at a mess.
She had a smile that could make your heart hurt, and a laugh that was infectious, and it was never at another persons expense. She never gossiped about others and would always find the good in others.
She was generous and kind, and will be so sadly missed, and I know she is an angel in heaven now, free from pain.
This has also made me so aware of myself. How I am speaking to my children, my husband, my friends?
Am I making happy, positive memories, or will they remember me as always in front of the computer, wine glass in hand? Do I put off interacting with them ( you know - "I'll be there in a minute" x 30 ), am I rushing them through conversations so I can get on to the next thing on my to-do list? Is a clean and 'Home Beautiful' house taking priority over joy and laughter and silliness? Do I anger quickly, do I give generously?
Of course it should not have taken the death of a beautiful woman to bring these questions to mind, and I have pondered them time and time again. But I am thinking in a different light - "What would Jackie have chosen to do?" Would she play another on-line game or spend time jumping on the trampoline with her kids? Would she have spent hours searching for the exact right shade of green paint, or would she have spent hours with her friends and family.
We get a limited number of days on earth, and we do not know the magic number. We have no idea if we will be here when we are 108 or gone tomorrow.
In memory of my friend, and in love to my special family and friends, I am trying to focus on living each day as if it were my last, each goodbye will be the last interaction I have with someone.
Try it for just one day. If this is the last time you ever speak to your 8 yr old, are you going to yell about his shoes on the doorstep, or ask him nicely and ruffle his hair as he walks by? Would you tell the 4 yr old angrily to go away and leave you alone or read "Guess How Much I Love You" for the 50th time. Would you pout and whine at your husband for being late home, or be grateful that he is home safely for your last time together? It's hard to do, difficult to remain focused, but just for one day... try it. You may be shocked at how often your conversations were negative and careless.