Folks, when I was 18 an old workmate of mine died. He was 55 and I recall thinking, ‘Well, that wasn’t a bad innings.’
I’ve since changed my mind about what constitutes a ripe old age.
Sadly, in the past two months we’ve lost two friends. Neither of them made it to 50. In fact, they were both 47, went to high school together, had three daughters each, and both died far too young from cancer.
Early last Wednesday morning my wife called from the hospital to tell me that our friend Jodie had passed away. Outside, it was another ordinary, dull, day that most people probably won’t remember, but will never be forgotten by Jo’s family and friends.
We got through it with a few tears and a lot of hugs. It’s not like we had a choice, important things needed doing, and curling up in a ball of grief for the day really wasn’t an option.
On the bright side, if it’s possible to find a bright side at these times, Jo got to say goodbye to all the people she loved. A lot of people don’t get that opportunity. They never get the chance to look their partners, children, family and friends in the eye and tell them just how much they meant to them.
It was also touching to see the kindness of others who didn’t really know Jo, but went out of their way to send heartfelt messages of compassion, or perform small acts of kindness, to those who did.
People at their best.
Next week we’ll say our final farewells and afterwards, life will go on. But, next month, my wife will be stepping way out of her comfort zone and joining in the Shave for a Cure in Jodie’s memory. Personally, I reckon Jo would have really enjoyed making fun of my wife’s bald head!
But along with thousands of others, she’ll be raising money to hopefully make cancer as easy to treat as the common cold, well, perhaps measles, and give future generations a good shot at reaching a ripe old age.