Prior to my husband’s granddad passing away last month, death was an alien concept in my house. Although distance meant he wasn’t a part of our daily lives, the girls fully appreciate that he isn’t here any more. Two weeks after he passed, my best friend’s dad died. Less than a fortnight later, the Paris bombings happened. Now it feels like death is everywhere.
Any time someone sneezes my 6yo will comment that at least they aren’t as poorly as Grandpa was, or Sid’s Granddad, and hopefully they won’t die. It’s clearly on her mind, as it is mine, and I’ve found my thoughts drifting to flashbacks of the past. If I’m honest death is a concept that terrifies me, and always has done.
I’ve not exactly had proper brushes with death, but I have had a couples of moments in my life where it felt as though it could be on the cards.
2002: I’d fallen out with a load of my old flatmates and was going through an exceptionally challenging time. My drinking was out of control, and my behaviour was off the chart worrying. Loved ones tried to rein me in but I was a force to be reckoned with back then. I went out one night with some friends in Soho, and got so smashed that I lost them in the transition from the first bar to the next. My bag had been stolen earlier that evening, I had no money and no house keys.
Somehow I ended up in a ‘taxi’ where the driver took me to a random house in North London. I was found running down a dual carriageway in the early hours of the morning screaming ‘help, he’s going to kill me’. A car full of teenagers stopped and took me to the nearest police station, where I was so paranoid I was convinced they were all in on it, and were out to get me. To this day I have absolutely no idea what happened. All I know is that I have never been as afraid as I was that night.
2005: the other notable brush with my own mortality came while I was living in Cambodia. Less than one year after The Tsunami that claimed so many and so much, Asia was still on red alert. This particular night we’d heard that there was an earthquake on it’s way, and living on the coast there would be no safe place to hide. The only solution was to reopen the cool box that had just been locked, and carry on drinking. If we were all done for, we may as well get hammered. Fortunately the information was completely inaccurate, you really couldn’t trust local TV back then.
I remember feeling that I’d temped fate on these occasions. That someone was looking out for me. That it wasn’t my time.
There have been numerous tragic world events that have occurred in the last decade, and whilst they might not have affected me directly, they have still rocked me to my core. Brought tears to my eyes and sent shivers down my spine. The injustice and brutality often rendering me speechless.
I could let my thoughts get dark right about now, and worry myself senseless at the horrific state of the world, but I’m choosing not to.
Instead I will tune out to the negativity on social media, and opt for kindness every time.
Instead I will keep my loved ones close, and make sure they know how loved they are.
Instead I’ll continue striving to achieve my dreams, however unimportant and insignificant they might seem in the aftermath of Friday night.
I point blank refuse to let fear dictate my life, and will not become scared to leave my house in case something bad happens.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter how hard it gets, there is more to be grateful for than there is to be miserable about.
We cannot fix the worlds troubles but we can ensure the little world our children inhabit is as safe and wonderful as it can possibly be for them.