Not Life Or Death, Life AND Death

Around the time that I met the man who would become my life partner, my best friend’s father was diagnosed with an advanced cancer – aggressive treatments, no cure.

So while I was celebrating new love and the excitement and fear of finding ‘the one’, my dear friend was going through the excruciating realization of the numbered weeks and days she had left with her

She sat by his side many of those days, along with her mother, sister and brothers. They laughed and cried; they celebrated and mourned and mostly, they waited.

When I met with her, she would ask about my new relationship, excited for me though somewhat distracted. I would tell her briefly and try to share her journey. I was moving further into life, she into death.

It was an experience that stayed with me for years. The constant integration of life and death. The inseparable experience, as we live, we die.

This week it struck me stronger than ever.

This week we celebrate my father’s passing so many years ago, and yet his ever-presence in our hearts and lives. And this week my love had a pretty serious car accident that he miraculously got out of with minimal injury.

In the waiting hours of the emergency room, when he was in great pain and could not move, I did not allow myself to imagine the worst. We could not afford those kinds of thoughts. I knew that the only truth is this moment. The only reality is the one we live right now. What will be is irrelevant. We sat and waited.

19 years ago, my father died very suddenly. We had no idea. There was no waiting. One minute he was with us, the next minute he was gone. Amazing how in an instant you’re whole world can change. I thought of that this week.

And I remembered my dear friend who had all that waiting to do.  When her father eventually passed away, she was full of regret for what she had never said to him and had never heard him say.

19 years ago, I never got to tell my father how much I loved him, but I never doubted that he knew. And though he never got to tell me how much he loved me, I’ve always known too.

And this week, as I sat beside my love not knowing what would be, I don’t think either of us had anything that we needed to say.

So, I am full of gratitude.

For the beautiful integration of life and death.

For the blessings and amazing grace that I have experienced.

And of course, I think about the entrepreneurial journey – the paradox we face every day; fear and joy, success and failure, it can feel like life and death.

One thing I know for sure, is that paradox is unavoidable and integration completely necessary. We cannot succeed without failure, we cannot experience joy without going through fear.

So my wish for you, my dear fellow travelers, storytellers, intrepid entrepreneurs is to be fully present in the moment – that is all we can do and the key to being truly grateful for every moment.

With love.

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4 comments on “Not Life Or Death, Life AND Death

  1. I was moved by your post today, and happy in a strange way because it forcibly reminded me to stop and remember your dad. I think of him often, along with the many other loved ones that I have lost.
    These remembrances tend to be prompted by anniversaries and birthdays, but are certainly not limited by them. It’s a sad coincidence that today also happens to be the first anniversary of my friend Michael, who died of pancreatic cancer.
    I’m so glad that your partner is recovering well, and I wish you and your family a long, happy, and healthy life.

    • thanks for your kind words David – I love that you remember Dad this way and think of him often, and sorry for your loss – warmest wishes to you x

  2. I too am deeply grateful for a good life. I too have met the challenge of integrating life and death with the separate deaths of both parents (sudden) in my childhood, the death of my brother (sudden), and in the past 15 years the deaths of about 40 friends, colleagues, clients and relatives, including three of my adult children.
    And in the past year I’ve had to stare into the possibility/probability of my own death, when things went wrong in the aftermath of a 2012 stroke and 2014 heart attack. Yet here I am, happy and appreciative of life, and planning big for the future.
    Thank you for your inspiring story.

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