I need to stop making excuses.
Life is too short.
I need to stop over-thinking things.
Life passes too quickly.
A recent and very sudden death has plunged my life into contrast. The sister of my ex-wife passed away unexpectedly, she was 49. She was a loving, fun, smart woman. She brought up four kids on her own, went back to college once they’d grown up and earned a BSc in Nutritional Science, ohhh and she needed at least one coffee in the morning before you could speak to her. She would’ve done anything for you as she valued people over possessions. She was quick to laugh at herself, had little common sense, and for the years I knew her she was the big sister I didn’t have.
Quietly and with humility, she wasn’t one to sing her own praises or make a fuss, she just got on with things. She helped Louise and I when we moved into our first house – painting most of the living room on her own without a break – if you asked for help she always said yes, she put others first, and I don’t think I can recall her ever being angry. These are not words blinkered by grief, she was a good ‘un through and through.
Her funeral was a mark of the impact she’s had on the local community; the seats in the crematorium filled quickly, it was standing room only after that, and many people had to stand outside and listen to the service through the loudspeakers that were set up as the building was beyond capacity.
It’s still hard to believe she’s gone.
Today the life I have in front of me is, suddenly, different. Not in any specific way, there is no specific sign, no specific thing to point at, but the shift has happened, it’s there, I can sense it. The gentle voice in the back of my head repeating that simple mantra, one I’ve said many times in the past but I don’t think I’ve either fully bought into, nor fully realised what it represented. Life is too short.
At the service, Chris, the eldest of the four children spoke to us all. His words captured his mother well, her love of love, how the choices she made enriched her life far more than any amount of money would’ve done.
His message is one I am repeating here, a message I heard through the tears as they streamed down my face.
“Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident, it’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice, choose to live a life that matters.”
The coming year will bring changes to my life, as it always does. Some I already know about and I’m excited for, some I do not but I will deal with them when they arrive. Throughout I hope I can remain mindful to make better choices.
Life is too short.