I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world

I’ve been crap lately about remembering birthdays. No. That’s not quite true. I remember them but then I forget to do anything about them, even with Facebook’s reminders.

I was berating myself for being remiss in wishing BZs, SR, and FMcD the best of the year to come when I noticed a pop up from FB reminding me that my mate PB would have been 56 today, if he was still around.

Well, that’s not quite true either. FB might think he’s alive and well and just taking a break from social media, and while his mortal body might have legged it for more celestial shores, his spirit is indeed very much alive. His name has come up a number of times in recent weeks in conversation with mutual friends, all of us bemoaning the fact that he went too soon, that the world wasn’t quite as bright in his absence, that life sometimes simply wasn’t fair.

Trying to make sense of why some get to stay too long and others don’t get to stay nearly enough is fruitless. Our various beliefs and faiths might help us attach some modicum of reason to death before an age we deem acceptable. I’ve stopped trying to rationalise.

When we were in school, PB and I, hearing of something dying at 70 would provoke a chorus of ‘Sure, didn’t they live a good life’. Seventy then, to us at least, was ancient. Now shuffling off at 80 is considered too soon. Times have changed. Expectations have changed. Advances in medicine and science mean we’re living longer and often better lives. Some of us. Not all of us. Only some of us.

This poem by Mary Oliver reminded me of PB. He wasn’t simply visiting. He came and left his mark.

Have a good one, mate. I hope you’re at the bar, primped and preened, telling stories and keeping the angels entertained.



One Response

  1. Happy birthday, Mary! Happy birthday, everyone! I needed this, and will remember that line. I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world. Thanks (again).

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