Guest Blog: On death, dying, life and living (w. Podcast)
Written by a close friend of mine following the unexpected death of his Dad last Tuesday. Last time I spoke to Dave 9 months ago he was drowning deeply in his favoured bottle. Then one day sometime ago he decided he had the freedom to choose (Frankl 1946)
These words to help you recognise we do get through things, there is light at the end of the tunnel; providing you are in the right tunnel and heading in the the light bearing direction. Available as a podcast.
Written by Dave Corbett. May 2019
“I am grateful for so much since finding my way into my current headspace. I am not overly sure I knew just how grateful I would become for all that life promises until recent events. I have heard countless stories, believed in everything, seen the results with my own eyes, however until last week I really had little clue of just how blessed I was for the perspective I now enjoy.
The funny thing is all this came during a week which in all respects was traumatic and potentially filled with only sadness. My dad passed away suddenly last Tuesday. Woke up one morning, made his coffee, lit his cigarette and then quietly slid off the couch and off our amazing planet to move on. Receiving that call was comfortably the last one I ever expected to receive that morning, I was shocked beyond explanation at first, before being filled with questions and concerns. Rushed through to his house and into reality and the next phase of my journey.
On paper it was going to be a potential shit storm of enormous proportions. My family still has an odd culture and everyone was ready to first console and then celebrate his life by parting the night away. (Really any excuse to drink, be merry and not deal with the important things) To make matters worse I had to face my brother and sister from Cape Town. I had not spoken to either for over 2 years, which had done nothing other than widen the divide and slowly poison the relationship. Neither me nor them being real enough to pick up the phone and start the process of doing what we really should.
Being able to sit here a week later and be filled with nothing but gratefulness, happiness and true appreciation is a blessing and a gift I never expected. I can really only thank God for all this, since I never would have got here on my own, being able to better understand and appreciate my place in this amazing universe of ours. I am able to appreciate the strength, love and support of those around me, and more than anything else ask for help and support when I most need it. I have learnt and seen that the most important part of real communication is listening and hearing not talking and trying to sound smart.
For the past few months I was fortunate enough to appreciate my dad for what he was and for what he did, as opposed to how I had always viewed him, for his shortcomings and the things he didn’t do. Fortunately as part of my recent discovery I have been able to accept myself and others for what I am they simply are, and love him for what he was, simply a dad and a person, being the best version of that he could be for his son and the world. That perspective completely transformed our relationship for the last few months of his life and it is something I will treasure and carry with me for the rest of mine.
In his passing I am able to be thankful for the time I had with him, the life he lived, and appreciate the fact that his race here with us was run. I am thankful that he is in a happier place, and left knowing that his family is well, together again and love him dearly. All this instead of how I would have reacted this time last year, with selfish, self-centered and fearful drivers.
I was able to be there for my family, start the process of repairing relationships with my siblings, and lead by example for my children, nieces and nephews. I had the opportunity to show my children that it is perfectly fine to cry and be sad in times like this, and just as quickly have a smile on your face that a happy memory may bring you. That it is as important to be thankful, happy and appreciative of someone that has passed away as it is to be sad and to miss them.
I didn’t even come close to handling all my emotions properly. There were periods of misdirected frustration and irritation, and I am sure there will be more. However I was able to reflect on these at the end of each day, apologise where necessary, ask the God and those around me for the strength to be better and learn from my lessons.
Quite simply I will be eternally grateful for the place I found myself in when this happened. That instead of being another period to look back on with regret and sadness, I can appreciate it for what it was. Full of so much good, and reminders of how important it is to be grateful for what we have, appreciate life for what it is, and not waste time and effort on what we don’t have”
Dave Corbett, my friend and fellow journeyman, 23rd May 2019