Grab life with both hands

‘Grab life with both hands.’ ‘Don’t put off tomorrow what you could do today.’ ‘There are none of us who know if we are going to wake up in the morning.’

We hear these sayings all the time and I think most of the time we just shrug it off and keep doing what we’ve been doing.

The sudden death of a very dear friend recently has given me, and many others still reeling from the shock, a huge wake up call.

This is a family that I adopted  when I was seven years old and newly arrived from England. There was a girl in my class who was walking home in front of my mother and I on my first day at school and it turned out she lived just around the corner from my house. She was the only girl stuck in the middle of four brothers. She had what I had always wanted ~ brothers! As an only child I had longed for brothers, especially older ones (if I had had them I may well have felt differently!) the person who died was her oldest brother.

This is a man who became a dentist, and a good one at that. I won’t bore you with a detailed description of his life. He had always loved to write. So as a dentist he went and learned how to write screenplays to refine the one he had written. He approached someone with the screenplay and they said he would need to find a producer. ‘Leave it with me’, he said and off to producer school he went. When he returned he was told he needed to find a director. ‘Leave it with me’, he said, and off he went to director school. Finally a movie was made. One he wrote, directed and produced. And then another, and another. He wrote and published a book and had many other projects on the go. Give him an obstacle and he would come up with a way to circumnavigate it. As his sister said ‘his death was such a shock because he still had so much to do’.

The eulogies at his funeral spoke of love ~ of family, of friends, of travel, of writing, of sport, of volunteering overseas ~ basically of a life well lived. Until he dropped dead on the squash court at the age of 65.

His funeral was such a wonderful example of how to celebrate the life of a man who squeezed so much into every minute that he lived. A memorial and a celebration. Thank you Chris for what you brought to my life and for what you have left behind for us all.