In February I lost a friend and colleague. He died of a brain haemorrhage aged 44 years old, born a week after me. To say that I was devastated is an understatement. He was just a baby and this was going to be his year. His financial situation was improving, loans were finished, he’d just started a better paid job. Things were finally looking up for him after years of struggling.
When my step dad died of cancer, I grieved but ultimately I knew he was better off. But the death of my friend was like a bolt out of the blue. Admittedly he had high blood pressure but he was fit, he’d won the battle with drink and had given up smoking a few years ago. To die at this time when his star was rising, seemed unjust to me and everyone else who knew him.
I like to think that things happen for a reason so up until his funeral I was thinking what could be learned from his death. In my office the majority of us are in our late thirties and early to mid forties. We don’t feel old or middle-aged. To lose someone we considered still young was a shock. But we learnt something from this. Life is too short.
We can’t sit around waiting for opportunities we, have to look for them. As the saying goes we should seize the day. Make the changes that we want today and most importantly enjoy ourselves. Our friend had planned two holidays for this year. He’d denied himself this treat for many years. I learnt a long time ago that there will always be bills to pay. You can’t keep living just to work and pay bills. Work has got to provide you with enough money to give you a good quality of life. It is a given that we will all die one day, so while we are here we should make sure we live our lives to the full. He often said “Everyone dies, but not everyone lives.”
My biggest revelation was during his funeral. As I sat in church I realised that I didn’t want to leave the planning of my funeral to my family. I don’t want them to be burdened with the planning and I don’t want them to forget who I was. This means I actually don’t want my funeral in a church and unless I sort this out now and put it in writing my death will not reflect my life.
When I told my partner that I wanted a cardboard coffin he was horrified. I explained that as I wish to be cremated my choice of coffin will be more environmentally friendly. He’s asked me to give him a while to come to terms with my choices before we speak of it further. It’s not easy to talk about death whilst we still live but I’m adamant that my wishes should be honoured.
My message to you is this, if you’re not happy find out why and fix it. If you’re not getting all you want out of life do something about it. Live life to the max so that your loved ones can take comfort from it when its your time. I’m off to choose the music and write up my ideas for the service.