I’m not scared to talk – or write – about death.
I know it’s a taboo topic for some… but I think that death (if we allow it) can give us incredible perspective and insight on life.
Our family likes to visit graveyards for this very reason. It gives us time to really CONSIDER things… to consider what’s important – and what’s NOT important. To think about this precious gift called Life… and to figure out how we can embrace it fully… and not fritter it away on meaningless crap.
The other night, I was watching Saving Private Ryan (again). At the end of the film, there’s a scene where Captain Miller – having being fatally shot… pulls Private Ryan close, and with his last breath, he says: “Make it count”.
During the past 3 weeks, I have witnessed 3 families torn apart by death. First, the talented young actor, Kieran Schultz (14) fell to his death whilst on holiday at Hermanus. One of Kieran’s last projects was his role in Faan se Trein (the movie that Nick edited and is still doing some post-production work on). The cast and crew are deeply upset… just a few weeks ago, Kieran was on set in the Karoo with everyone… and now, he’s gone.
A few days ago, Nick’s young cousin lost her little cousin (from the other side of the family) to a tragic accident. The family, as you can imagine, is devastated.
And today, I heard that one of our friends (who attends the same Sunday morning community & debate group) has passed away today after a struggle with pneumonia escalated into kidney failure, heart failure (but the doctors managed to resuscitate him)… followed by a coma. Brain scans showed that his brain was no longer functioning and today, they turned off his life support.
He has a wife and a little girl. I can’t even imagine what they must be going through right now.
Only 3 weeks ago, I was sitting next to Wayne… on a couch… at our group. We were having a laugh about something. How could any of us have imagined that he would be gone so soon?
Life is so short.
And so fragile.
And so precious.
And a big part of me feels… that those of us who HAVE life… those of us who HAVE health… I feel that we owe it to those whose lives were cut short… to (as the captain said)… make our lives count!
To me… that simply means that we should not waste our lives… not fritter away our valuable, precious time on endless, meaningless crap (whatever that crap may be)…
For me, the crap is this: the rat race… neverending unhappiness and unfulfilment (whether in a career or a relationship)… chasing after meaningless “status” items… endlessly and miserably trying to live up to other people’s expectations… not giving yourself permission to be undiluted YOU… wearing masks… self-abuse… self-hatred… plodding along… “making do”… shooting yourself in the foot in some manner… (and so on, and so on)…
I realise that different people will have different versions of what’s crap.
But I think it’s so important that we all live DELIBERATELY… that we all take stock of our dreams and the direction which we’d like our lives to follow… and that we deliberately chart a course towards a life worth living!
I know this may sound all very idealistic… but when I think of my recently departed friend, Wayne… I know he’d be on my side with this. He was always the type to speak his mind, be himself (without any apologies) and to reach for MORE…. he was always the guy that questioned the status quo… who kicked against “expectations”… and who lived far more authentically and enthusiastically than most…
With Wayne, young Kieran and little Devon in mind… I endeavour to somehow… some way… make my life count. I owe it to them.
Life is short. Life is precious. Don’t waste it! Make it count!