Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Celebrating Friendship

I’ve lost quite a few of my family members over time but today is the anniversary of the passing of one that spoke to me is a special way and made me look at valuing my time with people quite differently. It’s taken time for that change to really resonate through what I do, but today, I’d like to do something to mark this change.

When my cousin Gary died many years ago I was still fairly young and although I was sad, I hadn’t yet come to realize that life will pass you by if you let it. I thought off and on, about how suddenly he went, an accident and that was it. But I was still happily drifting through my life back then, the full implications had not sunk home.

When many years later in 2006, I heard his younger brother Mike, was seriously ill in hospital with cancer that had taken hold of his whole body, I was much older myself, well into the part of my life where I’d begun to realize how much I’d let pass me by and how little I had to show for it. I couldn’t believe it. Mike had a special place in my heart, I’d always thought of him as my favourite cousin even though I’d only spent time with him on a handful of occasions.

                                                       
River Stones, F Prescott

Those meetings were some of the great times of my life – Christmas in Canada with the whole family in Aurora, snowballs, snowmen; little things. Mike always cracking a joke and making us laugh. But it was the trip I made to Canada on my own when I got to go canoeing at Seneca College with him and had the trip of a lifetime to the Allegheny Mountains for a Scout Camp. He smuggled me in, dressed up as a Canadian Rover and a great group of us spent a wonderful few days hiking around some fantastic wilderness. Climbed up to a high, high wooden bridge and looked down to the beautiful stream below. My feet were covered in blisters and my muscles ached and I wanted to cry at the thought of bathing because the water was so unbelievably cold. But it was just so great.  I had one more opportunity to spend time with Mike when he and his wife Cheri came to St. Lucia; we hiked, talked, relaxed and enjoyed the brief week. Cheri gave me a lovely pair of walking shoes from their shop Sojourn. They wrote once, I think I wrote once. Time slipped by.

Then when the end of his life came I realized I knew so little about this person, my cousin Mike. I’d just seen a glimpse of his spirit and been inspired – he wasn’t a showy person, just so genuine and enjoyed life – especially nature - so much.  But when I heard he was ill I realized how little I’d done to keep our friendship alive. Still, time slipped by. I sent a message close to when he died, and then it was too late. But in true Mike style, he didn’t go out the way most of us do – he went out celebrating his life, friends and family.

So, I’m not here today on the 2nd anniversary of his leaving this life to feel bad or mourn with sadness, but to ask everyone who reads this today to do one thing as a celebration of life and the people we love – give someone a call, email, shout-out, whatever; just to reminisce on the good times you spent together and re-confirm your appreciation of each other; and encourage them to do the same with someone else. You can leave greetings here in the comments if you like, and pass on the celebration of friendship to as many as you’d like. Just celebrate.

In fond and happy memory of my Mother Mary, Gary, Mike, Myriam, Uncle Paddy, Uncle Pat, all my Grandparents and all you other great spirits we miss you all and cherish our happy days with you.  
                                                                                Live, Love Life, T Prescott
Today, my Alphabet Attitude is: 
P is for Perpetual as the Spirit is.           
                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                    

5 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this, Finola. I was thinking that Susan would like your Mike story. I have been thinking a lot lately that it is now nearly 6 years since we were told that Susan is dying. But increasiningly, I have been reminding myself that of course what she's doing is living - even if in an increasingly uncomfortable and more disabled body. Yesterday, her husband Richard rigged up her computer so she could take up Sudoku again! She's figuring out how much livng she can fit in. Thanks again.
    Jane

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  2. Isn't it sad it takes a loss to make us appreciate what we have. For the last couple of years I've struggled with back problems. It's under control now but at it's worst I could not move without pain and I was receiving 4 treatments a week.
    For a long time I was not getting any better and I started to think that I might never get better. I felt an incredible sense of personal loss. The thought that I might not be able to travel, excercise, paint/draw at an easel ever again was terrible.
    As my back started to get better I started to change my life: I ended a bad relationship that I had allowed to drift, made plans to spend time with friends and family, got in touch with old friends I hadn't seen for a while and made new ones. I'm fortunate that my 'loss' was a temporary one but it was certainly a wake-up call. I count my blessings every day.

    Caroline

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  3. i know i'm commenting late, but school work has got me covered so i get to reading a few days later. anyway....agreed with comment #2's 1st sentence so much. i think about that all the time actually. the way we really gotta lose something 4 it 2 make sense 2 us how much we loved it and appreciated it. not really gonna go into detail here, but just wanted 2 say that. ;)

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  4. Very insightful post Finola, very true. It's all to easy to let friendships slide, lose touch even with those who have meant something special at some time in our lives..

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  5. Thanks first of all to Jane for sharing - Susan was very much on my mind in posting this and you put it so perfectly - living is what it's about, each day to the fullest.

    And Caroline - I had no idea - my sympathy goes out to you but you've got the right attitude, taking a hard time and turning into a leap forward in life. I'm so glad I found you again on Google and we'll get together, somewhere in the world!

    well Jody - you know I think you're a special young one - you have a lot of what is uncommon sense - you'll do well in life, just keep being you and working to your max!

    Liz, (my sister, readers) I know what it's like to be out of the family loop - I hope we're managing to keep you inside our arms more these days! Miss you lots!

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