I sat there looking down on my hands. One day they would be as veiny and skinny as the hands on the old men sitting in the row in front of me. Over time, they will decay, hopefully with still some sense of proudness left in their owner.
I’m writing this on a Sunday evening, where the last three days have consisted of, in order, a funeral, my birthday and a wedding. Basically, a pretty good spectrum of life events, giving food for thought about our lives. When I was sitting there watching my hands during the funeral, it does come to you how fleeting life is, and even though it sometimes seems like an eternity, it’s just a brief glimpse in time.
The person who passed away was 88 years old, and he had even managed to have grand grand grand-children in his life. Mourning him was his wife, who had been together with him for 68 years. I don’t know how someone will be able to move on after having lost a life partner you’ve had for such a long time. I don’t think you can. They did, however, have a very long life together.
Contrast to that: Last Saturday, 8 days ago, someone I used to work with about a year and a half ago died in a tragic accident at the age of 40, leaving three daughters behind. He used to bring his youngest daughter to work, and I can still with an oh-so-too-much clarity see how she was sitting in his lap and he was fondly holding her.
Then, my birthday. Lots of nice people congratulating me, and my closed ones treating me to an excellent day and evening. A wonderful day; one of those days that you wish will never end. But, as you know, they always do.
Last night I was standing out on a terrace in Stockholm, with one of the best views of a beautiful city, shuddering slightly in the cold. Seeing a newly-wed happy couple embarking on their next step in life together; their sheer joy and love filling the room.
What to choose
After a week filled with losses, joy and love, I feel pretty sensitive. Not just in being easily emotionally touched, but by the sheer importance of the decisions we make. How we choose to lead our lives, what we prioritize and, in the end, who we are.
When people who are about to die get asked about their lives, it seems to be two things that always come up:
Things they regretted they never did, and that they didn’t spent near enough time with their loved ones, or didn’t treat them even close to how nice they wanted to.
And we all know how things can be. We’re stressed, we face so many things we have to do; so many decisions, choices, obligations. And somewhere in this circle we tend to miss out to just stop for a moment, and just look at the people we love. To take the time to listen to them, give them a nice reply when they ask something. To hold them, to kiss them, to let them know that they mean the world to you.
I try. I try very hard to be there for those people; the individuals that mean so much to me, life without them is unthinkable.
Therefore, I will work even harder to take care of those special people to me. It would be such a waste to spend the least amount of time and effort on the people that by far mean the most to me. We never know how much time we will have together, so why take the risk of missing out on even one of those single moments?
I hope you have your loved ones, and that you will take the time to do so too.