On Life, Death and Everything in Between

on life and deathPrior 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.  

2015-11-15 09.47.04There 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.

 

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12 Comments

  1. November 18, 2015 / 10:35 am

    Oh my word Maddy, you must have been absolutely terrified! Thank goodness none of the what ifs actually occurred. Really doesn’t bear thinking about does it. Positivity is all that gets me through some days xxx

  2. November 18, 2015 / 10:34 am

    Thanks Yvonne, it’s all we can do really! Hope all’s well with you xxx

  3. November 17, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    Wow, those near(ish) death experiences sound terrifying – especially the first. I had an experience of the sort once at the end of my first term of university – my dad was driving me home in a car weighed down with all my stuff (I’m an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ type girl) when we were hit by a truck that drifted into our lane (the driver fell asleep). We bounced off it, did a 360 spin across the dual carriageway and spun off onto the verge which was thankfully wide enough for my dad to get control of the car. We were totally fine but it gives me chills thinking of the what if’s. Like if a car had been behind us, if we’d hit the massive signpost that we missed by a few meters, or that if we hadn’t had so much stuff in the car it might have flipped over…
    Anyway… I think it’s so important not to let fear rule us or to get dragged down into thinking everything is bleak. You’re so right to focus on the positive. xxx

  4. November 17, 2015 / 6:02 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Love the last paragraph. We must ensure that the world our children live in is safe …
    Yvonne xxx

  5. November 17, 2015 / 11:29 am

    Good for you lovely! You’ve come way too far and put in too much hard work to get here to let fear control your life. You should be so proud of yourself hon xxx

  6. November 17, 2015 / 10:31 am

    As you know, I’ve been in many similar dangerous situations to yourself and as such consider myself to be very lucky to be alive, by rights I should be dead as a direct result of my drinking. Like you, I too find myself very emotional over tragic world events, they really do rock me. This weekend all I wanted to do (and did) was stay in, keeping my little family safe. My more pragmatic husband indulged me and also turned the news off when I couldn’t. Then on Sunday I changed; I thought that’s exactly what terrorists want and I am not going to let fear run my life, I’ve worked too hard on changing that in the last 18 months or so! x

  7. November 17, 2015 / 8:52 am

    Oh bless him, I bet he understood perfectly didn’t he, such a gorgeous little soul. I’m glad his teachers are taking this stance, it’s a good way to look at it. Sending love xxxx

  8. November 16, 2015 / 9:02 pm

    Beautifully said.

    My little man has been asking questions about death as well. I never really know what to say. It’s a tough one, isn’t it? I didn’t tell him about the Paris attacks. It was not a conscious decision. I just didn’t. I didn’t feel like talking about it, explaining… They talked about it at school and his teacher told them they had to keep living a happy life, to not fear. Perfect answer! X

  9. November 16, 2015 / 8:43 pm

    So much that Fiona. Let the haters hate, now is a time for gratitude and kindness xxx

  10. November 16, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    People have died. People who never thought they would die at the time they did, in the way they did. People who would have given anything to continue living. Their lost lives would be totally in vain if we lived on in fear, sheltered and limited. We must live and love and be grateful. Because we HAVE so much. So much to live for. So much to be grateful for. And so much to love.

    You said it beautifully, Reneé xx

  11. November 16, 2015 / 8:24 pm

    While I’ve been writing this post and thinking about that night I’ve thought several times about what a lucky escape it was. I cannot believe some of the ridiculous situations I used to put myself in, and can only hope my kids never do half the things I was stupid enough to do xx

  12. November 16, 2015 / 8:09 pm

    I’ve had a couple of close scrapes myself in my time including getting absolutely hammered on free wine at a book launch (must be circa 2001/2 actually) and then missing the last train home and ending up walking from the nearest station I could get to and letting myself be picked up by a car which purported to be a taxi and who offered to take me home despite my only having £2 on me. How really bloody lucky that he did actually accept £2 and take me home! Ridiculous thing to have done but your experience sounds about a milliion times more worrying. Funny that my latest post is kind of a very roundabout similar take on not letting bad news and scare-mongering in the media dictate how you live your life. X

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