This Fragile Life

Today, I attended the funeral of yet another one of my neighbors growing up. I grew up in the house right next door to this lady. She was the mum to 7 kids, which we all knew so well. There were 6 of us kids growing up so between the 2 houses, there were 13 kids running around. Unimaginable by today’s norms.

This was typical of Ireland in the 1970’s and 80’s. We had very little in the way of material possessions but we were rich in the ways that mattered – community, friendship, fun, play, family, love and connection. In fact, the very things that we, as a society today in 2021 are lacking more and more. I’m thinking about the inverse correlation between wealth and the accumulation of material possessions (houses, cars, clothes, stuff to fill your house with) and to what degree community, fun, family, love and friendship play in our modern lives – are these inversely correlated as one goes up, the other goes down? I starting to digress here so let’s get back this post….

This lady was one of the kindest souls I’ve met in this life, always had time for whoever needed it, despite having 7 kids to look after. She was dedicated to helping everyone around her, her family, her friends, the church, the community – a true hero in my book!

I was very sad today to see her go. She was a good age but that is kind of not the point. Funerals always make me stop in my tracks, make me feel humble to be alive, to still be here, to still have time to do things, to love, to feel, to be in this world. The world stops for funerals. In the face of death, everything else seems to just fade away and be irrelevant, maybe it always is and funerals just bring this clarity, I don’t know.

All I do know is that I am sad today to see this lady go from this world, and I am sad for the family that have to grieve the loss of their mum now and their dad only just 4 months ago. In a cruel way for those left behind, it is kind of a nice thought to think that they are now together again, just in time for their 59th wedding anniversary.

Life is fragile. Life is precious. It’s sad that it takes funerals to remind us of this fact as we rush around in our modern fast paced lives surrounded by material wealth and comfort. Death is the ultimate destination and it is the same for all of us. They only difference is going to be what you do on your way there.

Be well.

JP

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