Thursday, November 10, 2005

Shock leads to Inspiration

Every now and then we are given a wake up call - sometimes we listen, sometimes not.

N and I received a huge one on the weekend when a longtime friend of N's died suddenly of a heart attack - he was only 36 years old. Mixed up with the grief comes a feeling of "am I doing what I want to be doing, because well, you never know what tomorrow may bring. Would I look at my life and be satisfied I'd done all the things I wanted, was the best person I could be". And for most of us we wouldn't be happy with the answers to those questions, because it becomes so easy to just "be in" your life, rather than really "live it". I do achieve goals, have enriching experiences and I make sure I regularly tell the people I care about that I love them. But I still have a very long To Do list - and at moments like these I realise that if I don't get a wriggle on, I may run out of time to get them all done. I mean, this year I've travelled all over the world (South Africa, around Australia, New Zealand, France, Scotland and Hong Kong) and had amazing experiences, we got pregnant, I've supported N through big changes in his career and supported family members through health scares, but I still have things I haven't done, risks I haven't taken, things I haven't said.

At the moment I swing between despair and uncontrollable bouts of tears, to feeling like I'm sparking with inspiration to get on with life. Out of a tragic loss it can be very difficult to find anything positive. Once the pain and shock subsides, I hope I can hold onto this renewed desire to live for today. It sounds wrong, but I feel inspired by the tragedy. It isn't disrespectful, actually I kind of feel it shows a lot of respect - this person meant alot to us and I refuse to let his passing not make a difference to me, even if it is just a slight attitude adjustment to be thankful for everyday I have.

Everywhere, everyday someone experiences tragedy - finding the strength and inspiration to move on, to do better, to be better is the challenge. If you haven't had that wake up call recently, maybe it's time to think back to a time when you did and remind yourself, not only of the pain, but of how fortunate you are to still have the chance to do all those things that are important to you.

I've just been looking at this post for ages - should I post it, should I not... I'm not looking for sympathy - I'm just trying to process the chaos of emotions I'm experiencing at the moment. Trying to remind myself that life goes on, the pain eases and the memories remain. Dealing with the shock of losing someone so young, so vibrant. There are so many wonderful things happening in my life at the moment, that something like this just reminds me to really appreciate them, to not take anything for granted and to get off my butt!!!


maria said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Michelle. Something like that happening to someone who is so young truly can be a shock to the system ... a reminder that we are never guaranteed anything in this life ... not even another day, like your friend.

You've said everything so beautifully in your post that I have nothing else to add, except that (a) wow -- you sure have had a full year this year, and (b) it's not a bad idea to have a list of '100 things to do before I die' and to be sure your life feels rich in the ways that really matter to you. It's so easy to get complacent otherwise.

Years ago, I came across this poem called The Station, and today when I read your post, it reminded me of how important it is to enjoy each step of the journey.

Blessings to you, N, your friend, and his loved ones.

Michelle said...

thank you so much Maria for your kind thoughts.

A bit later when I have a quiet moment I'll make myself a cup of tea and read the poem you recommended.

Swirly said...

I am glad you posted this. A few years ago I witnessed quite a handful of unexpected, devastating losses. I totally understand what you mean about it being heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time. I still struggle with that dichotomy at times, with wanting to use the experiences to inspire me to live my life to the fullest, but also feeling fearful that one day I'll wake up and all will be lost by some horrible tragedy. Take good care of yourself.