4 October 2016

A year ago today, my brother died. He slipped out of this life peacefully, having fought so hard to stay. He had every incentive to stay, children who needed him, and many, many work projects and ideas that he was developing. How he kept track of all that, while working and running a household is mind-boggling. But he did it all, and the reality now, looking back at what he did, and the way he lived, is that his example has taught me so much of the small lessons, the big lessons and the huge, about what life is for.

Interestingly, his example, his strength, has illuminated for me what really matters in life and the patience, compassion and toleration that allows life to be meaningful and to flourish. His strength stands to constantly remind me to be brave and to be authentic, not frightened, when faced with challenges. And I notice, more and more, that challenges come quietly. We have to take these chances when they come along, or their like may not come again.

Another of my brother’s gifts is to have brought our family closer together in the aftermath of his passing. We have had no choice, these last two years, but to let go of past troubles, to talk honestly, to be forgiving and to listen to each other. Adversity forces us to focus on what really matters, to cut to the chase. And yes, to recognise that being grumpy, miserable and resentful are a total waste of time! It has been so totally amazing to notice and reconcile deep grieving and compassion with the desire for real happiness. We can all be sad, and deeply happy at the same time.

Time is fleeting, so let us recognise it every day as a gift and make the most of it.

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