A couple of days ago, I got a text from one of my best friends telling me that her dad has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer and only has weeks to live. As someone who I know to be equally as close to her parents as I am with mine, I can’t bear to imagine the devastation she must be going through right now. I started thinking about when my own Grandpa passed away when I was six, and our old family friend, just last Summer. It’s crazy how one minute someone who has been there through your whole existence is alive and well…and the next you only have a calculated amount of time left with them.
Over the past few days I have been thinking about this a lot. The evening I received my friend’s message, I had a long conversation with my Dad about how on earth anyone copes with that kind of awful news, and how I am terrified of anything like that happening to me or my own family. I guess we all have that fear. In modern day Western society, I think we distance ourselves from the concept of death, adopting an ‘it won’t happen to me’ kind of mindset. Now, I’m not advocating we walk around thinking about death all day long, but it’s funny how in the presence of it, life becomes so much more precious. It really puts everything into perspective.
The thing is, death is a part of something much bigger than all of us. No one can predict or control it. True, we can all do our bit to maintain good health: not smoke or drink excessively, eat well, stay active, the usual…but we still can’t absolutely guarantee anything, so worrying about what may or may not happen in the future is pointless.
What we can control however, is how we make the most out of the life we do have now. How we appreciate and enjoy the little things: the warm sun on your back, your morning coffee or listening to your favourite song, as well as the big things: travelling, weddings, birthdays…the list is endless if you really think about it. It’s about engaging with other people, making the most of opportunities, eating good food, dancing around in your underwear…whatever it is that makes you feel good and alive. It’s about trying not to get too fixated and worked up over things like what other people think, how you look, or who’s seen your latest Instagram story (concerns that seem particularly relevant to my generation). Life’s just too short.
In regards to my friend, my heart aches for her and I vow to give her all the love and support I can. It’s really made me realise how fragile we all are and how unpredictable and uncontrollable our lives can be, for good or for bad. The best thing we can do is make the most of what we’ve got right now and celebrate the beauty of life, in little ways, everyday.