Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A life well lived

Yesterday I said goodbye a very special lady, a close family friend who was more like a second mum to me and over the past few years had taken on the role of 'adopted' Nana to my girls. We all loved her and can't believe we won't see her again.

During the funeral service one of her grandsons read out a very moving poem. I'd never heard it before but it certainly gave me pause for thought and I wondered how many of us, when we reach the very end of life, will be able to look back and say we'd made the most of it?

I think my friend was one of those people. I was going to say 'lucky people' but I'm not sure luck has much to do with it, it's more about grabbing life by the short and curlies and shaking every little bit out of it.

Even though she'd had a fairly tough upbringing, she was one of the happiest, most optimistic people I've ever known and had lived her life to the absolute fullest. Every time I saw her - and I'd known her since I was 9 - she was bubbling over with enthusiasm for...well, life!

She had a real interest in other people and somehow found time for everyone, she was the dispenser of sound advice and funny stories, and had a genuine warmth and charisma that you either have or you don't have, and she had it in bucket loads. The packed church was testimony to a life of friendship, kindness and laughter.

Top 5 regrets of the dying ( was reminded of the top five regrets of the dying, and how so many of us live according to somebody else's rules or limit ourselves with our own.

Who doesn't want to be able to say, at the very end, that their life had meaning, had lived it the way they wanted, and were true to themselves?

I believe I witnessed such a life being celebrated yesterday, and it was a poignant reminder that the changes I've promised I'll make to my own life are all the more important.