Sometimes we are temporarily closed for (Re)Construction. The trouble with life is that it is completely unpredictable. Truthfully, I want the calm sea, the gentle cool breeze and clear skies. Only a fool would think that we could have these conditions until we die. And there it is – the duality of life. There is no life without death. It is persistently lingering in the background somewhere there.
What has death got to do with (Re)Construction? Well we really do forget at times during our lives that we are so vulnerable to death. We drink from the cup of invincibility when we are young and feeling at our best. We live with the illusion that we have all the time in the world. Yes, there are times we need to say that – “We have all the time in the world.” However, it should not lure us into complacency. For complacency can rob us from our true potential and living life to it’s fullest. ‘There is always mañana!’
Yes and No. There is a balance of just a little bit of fear and a little be or reality. How do we know? We might need to temporarily close for (Re)Construction. In this time we take stock, make assessment and check in with ourself. When do these occasions pop up? Usually when we have death close. It may not be ourself, although it could be a near death experience or it could be the death of a family member or close friend or even a friend of a friend. Sometimes, it is not until we read the recent news of a person dying in their sleep at the age of thirty.
Recently, I spent six months travelling to hospitals for my father. I say hospitals because in six months he was a patient of three different hospitals. It was an intense six months of fighting medical bureaucracy, mental illness and my own family affairs. It was the year I missed seeing the whales travelling north and south from all the travelling to and from hospitals. It was also the six months prior that was a roller coaster of emotion as my father was coming to terms with his diagnosis. In truth I don’t think he ever came to terms to the closeness of his extinction. Yes, at eighty seven years of age with only one kidney that was diagnosed at final stage of kidney disease and he had heart disease, high blood pressure, and was on a very big list of prescribed medication he thought he was invincible. Well, ‘There is always mañana!’ right?
No, there is not always mañana! I wish for my selfish reasons that he realised that. I was his only daughter and youngest child. I wanted him to feel the gravity of his fragile life and give me some heartfelt sentiment of what an outstanding job I did with the life that I had been given – that he had given me. I wanted my father to see me and be proud and to tell me the same. I never got that. I got mess. Messy denial and family messy disfunction. I got kidney disease paranoia which with an estranged disgruntle family member diminished any chance to have the meaningful connection of a dying father that I desired. My father forgot who I was. He remembered my name but forgot the person who I grew up to be.
My father was the last true connection I had with my family of origin. Yet, in the last twelve months he with his health and mental health were slipping away. I was trying to hold it together. It is difficult trying to hold it together and be an advocate. Twelve months is a long time. My life and business was on hold, just doing enough to get by. I really didn’t know what it would take to get back. But there is no back. How do you go back when you go through this? It changes you. It teaches you. It grows you.
Like the butterfly there are stages before beautiful wings appear. There is the (Re)Construction stage. Contemplative, assessing, putting it all together, reforming, shaping and changing. Shut down for (Re)Construction like the pupa. We may not have wings like the butterfly but we have legs to stand back up. This is also resilience. The capacity to recover from difficulties and stressors.
Life gives and keeps giving if we are open to receive. The opportunity to re-invest in ourself comes when we face death whether it is close or distant. It is the chance in time to ask ourselves – “If I were to die overnight did I do my best at living this life I have been given?” Death reminds us of life. Grief is the reminder of life and love. Death reminds us of our vulnerability and that we are not invincible. Our time will come. But until that time how are you choosing to live?