Last week my family and I were unfortunately guests at two funerals.
The first was for my 93-year-old Grana, who lived on the land and had a long and happy life.
The second was for my long-time neighbour and dear family friend Mike Stout, who sadly, passed away at only 56 after a long battle with cancer.
It’s a strange thing, I think, dealing with grief amidst all the joy and excitement that comes with Christmas. I feel like my emotions are giving me a massive battering – one minute I think about spending the holidays with my family and friends and I get a feeling of immense happiness, the next I am crying in the arms of my (incredibly) supportive husband about how life isn’t fair.
My friend Hayls wisely told me that amongst all the good that comes with this time of year, it’s the universe’s way of balancing the good with the bad and that unfortunately, bad things happen when there is good around.
It’s odd because last year at exactly the same time, just a week before Christmas, I had a negative turn of events whereby I found myself in hospital having surgery. Needless to say my Christmas last year was pretty lack-lustre and it looks like this year it will be a pretty sombre one too.
My husband told me though; it all comes down to perspective. While discussing life and our two loved ones that have now left us, we were talking about how their families would be coping and how they would move forward after such immense loss.
What I have learned out of this situation is, it’s not just about the quantity of life, it’s about the quality of life and the special moments that make life all the more special. On one hand my Grana lived a long life, but it was filled with such struggle and tragedy that only families who have lived on a farm or station know.
In her latter years, she got to enjoy the love and company of her family – grandchildren and great-grandchildren – so that once she passed her life was rich and full of happy memories.
Our friend Mike achieved so much in his short life – more in fact than many would ever achieve if they lived 30 or 40 years more. When I look at his amazing family and the legacy he left behind, it is hard to comprehend how someone achieved so much. He really did want to bring out the best in people and people wanted to better themselves because of him.
I guess that perspective really does teach you to look for the good in every situation – to find a positive in every day, no matter what (something my Dad tells me often).
The perspective that I have gained in the past two weeks is that time really doesn’t stop for anything or anyone and that we are constantly moving forward.
Things do happen at inopportune times, but you can’t plan these things. I can only hope that my family and friends who are going through these tough times after suffering loss, can gain a renewed perspective of life in the hope that it will help them on this emotional journey.