So yesterday I received some sad news. News that I knew had been coming for a while, but I guess was just not ready to face. My Pop, who has been quite ill for many years is approaching the end of his days. In fact, there are only a matter of hours of his life left, according to Doctors.
I know I wasn’t that close to him. He was always a very strong, stubborn kind of man who was difficult to crack. But at the end of the day he is still my witty, brave pop, George and I will care for him deeply up until his very last breath.
I feel somewhat guilty feeling emotional. I had let the relationship drift with my Nan and Pop after the separation of my parents many years ago. I guess in some ways I had felt torn and that they wouldn’t except me as a young, gay woman. Now I realise I should have been the bigger person and reached out more.
In the past few years, I have truly realised the value of family. The moments when I could barely move from my bed or cook myself food or the days when the tears would just stream from my face like waterfalls, my family were there for me. In some ways, I think Chronic Fatigue and Depression were inflicted upon me to make me see just how important family really are.
Yes in hindsight, I wish this had happened sooner but I guess previously I was just too caught up in my own self-centered behaviour. The things that have happened to me have made me a more humble, grateful human being and for that I am eternally thankful. It has made me see clarity and the meaning of life and those in it.
Life is teeming with lessons. Little nuggets of gold that make us understand our reason for existence, shape who we are and provide us with direction for our future. In hearing of George’s final stages, I know that this one is to teach me the value of life and living it to the full.
George in his 80 years of life, I know has achieved great things. Living in the beautiful country side, raising 3 children, being married to my beautiful Nan for many years and having lifelong friendships. At the end of your days, I guess it is these things that matter. How much money you have in the bank, how much you excelled in your career or the little things like what brands you wore or how much you worked out, they just become redundant.
I do truly hope that as George lays there, waiting for the Universe to come and capture his soul, that he revels in happiness at the life he has lived. For a life with regret on your deathbed is possibly one of the saddest things. In fact, it is my worst fear.
As an activist for life, I truly believe in making every day count. Spreading love and kindness, embracing the little things and not sweating the small stuff. Personally, I have no time to worry about what other people think or impressing others when there is so much life to be lived and happiness to spread. You learn to see things from a different perspective when you have faced a debilitating illness or seen those around you suffer and approach death. These things, they change you.
While George’s strength and resilience have been nothing short of amazing, having conquered several bypass surgeries, cancer and various other health issues, I hope he knows that despite our lack of closeness he still had a huge impact on my life. His strength inspired me to stay strong through my illness and push through the dark days and like him, use humour to lighten the difficulties we face in life.
As the tears well up, I know I must be strong because those closer to him are suffering more. My Aunties, My Nan and my brothers, sisters and cousins, but most importantly my Dad who does not like to reveal his emotions openly. It is for these people that I need to be a rock and pillar of support.
In the midst of my tearful preparation to say goodbye, as I tend to do, I want to convey this message- live your life the way you want. Don’t live for others or try and conform to the stereotypes of how life should be lived. Just make it your own and follow your own path. Get married at 40 or don’t get married at all. Travel the world instead of having kids. Be a nomad rather than buying a house and living your life to pay off a mortgage. Quit your job to volunteer in Africa. There is no ‘set’ criteria for living your life so do whatever the bloody hell you want. Life is too short to live on someone else’s or society’s terms.
George, thank you for all the fond memories you gave me. The nights playing cards over the dining table, watching golf much to my despair and lightening the mood with your dry sense of humour. I will cherish these forever. I hope that when your time comes to pass on to the next world, it is peaceful and enlightening.
There will all be a day when we experience the same fate, so please I hope you make sure that every day, every moment counts. Life is too beautiful of a gift to not ensure that.
Sending love to all of those who need it right now
-the Soulful Wanderer