Yesterday a very dear friend of ours died after a long illness. In the end he went peacefully, having said all his goodbyes and with his family around him. When we saw him later that evening he was clearly at peace, and even had a contented smile on his face. His family took much comfort from the fact that he had waited for them all to arrive before deciding it was time for him to go, and for the fact that they had each had separate conversations with him where everyone had the chance to say the things they needed and wanted to say.
When we popped round again today, his wife told me that she’s only just starting to realise what people mean about the finality of death. Suddenly there are no more chances, and there never will be.
I’ve been thinking a lot about love and friendship since last night, and wondering why we make such a big fuss about separating the two. Some people go through their whole lives “looking for love” and it blinds them to the fact that there is often all sorts of love all around them that they’re not noticing, because it’s not romantic love. One of my favourite songs, Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell, by the Flaming Lips, is about this very subject. One of the verses goes:
I was wanting you to love me
But your love it never came
All the other love around me
Was just wasting all away
Actually, the whole album this song is taken from is a meditation on death and the importance of not putting things off till it’s too late. So often we find excuses not to do things – it’s late, I’m tired, I’d be embarrassed, they’ll think there’s something wrong with me, I don’t know what to say – and then one day we wake up and realise it’s too late.
If you have people in your life that you love, let them know. The ability to love and be loved is so powerful and yet we take it for granted. Don’t be blinded to the loves that you do have because they’re not the “right kind” of loves. And remember in all this to love and appreciate yourself – if you keep waiting until you turn into the “right” version of you, you’ll waste all of the wonder that is the real you, and then one day it’ll be too late.