A life lived – be happy

Mum texted me on Sunday a week ago to say that Aunty Laurel had died at 4 o’clock. Her passing had been expected but not quite that soon. As we know cancer is unpredictable but in any case once we’ve done about 650,000 hours for many of us, that’s it, and that’s almost exactly what she did do.

Laurel was a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend to many. It’s a strange thing that when you go to a funeral it’s often the only time that all the person’s family and friends from all their life come together. One of my running mentors Gordon Jackson turned out to be an old friend. I had no idea.

Knowing she was dying, Laurel requested her funeral be non-religious and simple. Family and friends spoke of a woman who always got stuck in, who was creative with cake making and teddy bears (sensational ones!) and was always there for her family. I remember Laurel mainly from family holidays to Stanmore Bay where generous barbeques seemed never to run short of food for us and all our cousins.

The sadness of losing a mother is not something I have experienced. But it is plain to see. What I also saw was a collection and distilling of happy memories and focus on what Laurel had given to her family. It can’t compensate, but it surely is a wonderful thing to reflect on.

Actually, that Laurel knew she was dying isn’t that unique. We all know we’re dying. We don’t know when but we can take a pretty good estimate of when the molecules will have had enough. I’ve been challenging myself recently “Am I happy?” I’ve done over 410,000 of my hours so I hope so! And I am.

Are you doing right now what you want to do? Or is the happiness at some “when I’ve done this” point in the future? What is that point? What is the point in waiting for that point?

Make it happen. Whatever works will do I say. Laurel didn’t wait to make her teddy bears. She made scores of them, bringing joy and happiness to many people, but most importantly, to herself. Be happy. Now.

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