I read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth last year, mainly because Oprah said it was required reading. Being an admirer of Oprah for some time (did you know we have the same Myers Briggs personality type: ENFJ?) I of course had to read it. As luck would have it, one fell into my lap and I skirted around the edges, finding it quite a challenge. It was only with the death of a my friend Dave Fitzsimons from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, that I really got into it. After his funeral, I cried a lot, and read A New Earth in one day, and I found the passage about the human structure being an unstable one somehow comforting.
Which brings me to the subject of death. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost someone they have loved dearly, be it son, daughter, wife, husband, brother, sister, grandparents or friends. Is a sudden death harder? Or does a long illness make it easier to bear, knowing you have had time to say good-bye? Or does any death, no matter how it comes about, feel like the ultimate betrayal of life? Does living a full life make death easier to bear for those who are left behind? Or is a routine life a waste?
I am in the second half of my life now. I am 46 years old this year. If I’m lucky and my health is good, I may have another 40 or 50 years. But I don’t know. We can never know. I think of my friend Dave, who was an elite athlete in his youth and ran marathons at the Olympic Games, and who was betrayed by his body which was so strong, and had such stamina. It was only a year from diagnosis to his death. And Natasha Richardson who died from a bump on her head this week. What we live in – our bodies – are impermanent. They break. They grow old. They die. But we live our lives thinking we will go on for ever.
I try to live like every day is a gift. And I try to do what Dave asked of his son, and which really struck a chord: “Go do some living for me.”
I will, Dave. I am.