This week was my birthday – I had a great day, lovely presents and fab friends and family. The kind of day you’ll look back on and smile.
I’ve never seen birthdays as getting older, more about celebrating my life and the very fact I’m here! Until this year when I had some news that took a mirror to my face and there, before my eyes, was my own mortality, sneering back all smug like.
A friend from my past, a man who was woven into the fabric of my formative years died frighteningly quickly of cancer. One moment he was going to the GP about a mole on his back, a matter of weeks later he was taking his last breath in a hospice surrounded by shocked, dumbfounded and grief stricken family.
It’s rare, of course it is but it was a comma, or maybe a semi-colon on my perfectly crafted life prose. He was only a couple of years older than me, he had children, we’d been drunk together, crazy, mad, stupid. We’d not seen each other for years, I never gave him a second thought but then the Grim Reeper tripped him up.
It’s a strange thing when one of your peers dies, it unbalances the norm and inflicts a violent moment of ‘ it could be me, perhaps I won’t die in my bed at 95, surrounded by those I love.” I’m not grieving for him, I won’t lie. He was a good man and it is hugely sad but after 15 years he was a stranger to me, a stranger that shared a past. But I’m grieving for the sense of freedom that utter ignorance gives.
Goodbye Mark, I hope your family find peace and a joy in your memory. I hope your life was full, exciting and brimming with chaotic love. I intend to go back to blissful ignorance – I won’t live forever but I might try to act like it.
“If one was to think constantly of death, the business of life would stand still”