My aunty passed away recently.
She was an amazing example of positivity, strength and kindness, and though she’s not here, her very memory continues to inspire me every day.
My dad and her were inseparable all their lives, right up to the last moments, he in his late 70’s, she in her late 80’s. When they were younger, she left school just to look after her younger siblings. This continued well into their adult years; she never really stopped looking after my dad.
But now that she’s gone, my dad is not well. I feel like since she passed away he’s been lost, he’s becoming confused and his memory is beginning to fail. I have heard that it can happen suddenly, rapidly. Seeing this happen to him makes me feel sad.
While there have been highs and lows, dad has always been a wise influence in my life.
I asked him years ago how he felt about getting older. He had said that when the time comes, he would be ready to walk into the sunset. There is some comfort in knowing that he isn't afraid and that he would be ‘ready’ but it is still of course very difficult to see him like this.
We are looking at aged care facilities at the moment as he is now unable to look after himself alone. I have shed many a tear, felt much sadness and heaviness, especially as I write this now.
Amid the sadness, there is also love, hope and joy. Joy in that we will find him somewhere where he can really live out the rest of his days.
When faced with our own aging and mortality – ours, or that of the people we hold dear - we should be reminded to seize the day, to let go of small irritations and frustrations, to look at what we are holding onto: resentments, blame, shame.
It’s the most powerful reality check.
Seize the day.