As I am growing older (but of course I still consider myself very young, especially when my bestfriend Bee and I take ourselves out for the night!) I have become aware of my changing position on mortality. Difficult subject I know, and one that is not usually on a marketing blog.
Living in Devon I am surrounded by a relatively older community than in Burnham (Bucks), the village I grew up in. In my youth, the idea of death was almost theoretical and only happened to my pets. All of my goldfishes and rabbits were ceremoniously buried under a huge willow tree in the garden at home. I remember death as something that would make me cry and feel sad, but I could bounce back. Rather quickly in fact. A glass of squash and a biscuit were always good distractions.
In my 20’s I bravely attended my Aunt’s funeral with my sister as my parents were away. I cried as soon as I saw the coffin and then huge loud sobs until the last hymn. I had to attend the wake as I had volunteered to drive some family members. I was hoping an ability to calmly, and with dignity, pay my last respects, would come more easily then, and indeed over the years.
During my 30’s I would be consumed with a tsunami of sadness when I heard that someone had lost a friend or relative. I could no longer bring myself to read order of service sheets at funerals. My Father’s death, during this decade, is something that I still struggle to comprehend.
None of us is a stranger to death. Just this weekend I spent Saturday at a family funeral. Now in my 40’s I notice much more clearly how I am surrounded by people who can deal with death in much more rational ways than I have ever been able to, or perhaps ever will.
This morning I visited ‘Gran-Gran,’ my husband’s Grannie, who is currently a resident at a nursing home about 20 miles away. I fed her lunch, puréed roast chicken on a teaspoon, a mango yogurt, finished off with a sugary tea. Suffering with severe dementia, Gran-Gran cannot remember me, but more sadly, she cannot remember my husband. I found myself saying, “Simon is here today. Simon has come to see you.” Blankly Gran-Gran looked up, and after some time she said, “Simon.” There was a slight smile. Tears were streaming down my face. Gran-Gran could remember Simon.
Perhaps there are times when death is simply the next chapter. A release onto another journey. Poignantly, as I left the nursing home a 99 year old resident, of sound mind, who is bright as a button said to me “enjoy yourself, you are at a great age, I was in full health until I was 75, they were my great years.”
It’s official then, I have 33 great years ahead of me! With that thought I opened my notebook got out my favourite Sharpie marker and quietly started to write my 33 year plan – there is a lot of be done!
So as I kick off “Project Life’ top of my list is to live purposefully and with as much gusto as I can muster! Following closely behind are plans and ideas that could grace the pages of Marketing Week!
To quote Napoleon Hill, “What the mind of man can see and believe, it can achieve.”
Now, let’s get on!