I haven’t had much motivation to write recently. I’m sitting here, trying to write something, just to get myself back into the flow of it. I’ve been mentally planning some scenes and I did manage to write a few pages of the second novel last week. But I’m just not feeling it.
When I’m not trying to write, I see things all the time that make me want to write. But when I’m sat here, in front of a blank screen, I can’t remember any of the ideas I had. So I’m just going to see what comes out…
Two months ago we had a death in the family. That’s nothing new, you might think. Death is an inevitable part of life, we all live with the knowledge of our own mortality, and the even less appealing mortality of our loved ones. I have the good fortune to come from a very very large family, many of whom, admittedly, I’ve never actually met. Their ages span from 80 right down to 6 months. Again, that’s fairly standard for most families. But I have no living grandparents or great aunts/uncles. The age difference between the oldest and youngest of my generation is 30 years (there’s 38 of us) – I’m the 3rd youngest, I think. So I’ve grown almost blasé about death. I’ve been regularly attending funerals since I was a child.
But this most recent death had a profound effect, not just on myself but, on everyone. This was, the head of my maternal family. My mum’s eldest brother. He was a man who enjoyed life to the full. He cared about everyone, kept in touch, and was generous to a fault. And at 84 years young, he was in good health. His death was a tragic accident, that knocked the stuffing out of everyone that knew him.
His funeral, dare I say it, was the best wake I’ve ever been to. We all felt a little guilty that we had such a good time, but you know what? That’s totally what he wanted. He’d already planned it. The church was absolutely packed, with many mourners having to stand at the back – and this was a big old church – though we do have a huge family, even we wouldn’t fill the whole church by ourselves. He was a well loved man.
Something good came out of it though. We all realised how short life is. It’s as though our generation looked at our parents – his siblings – and realised that they won’t be with us forever. And we realised the importance of taking time to spend with each other. To enjoy each others company and to live life as fully as he lived his.
And you know what? I think he’d pretty happy to know he’d inspired that.
With social media, it’s so easy to keep in touch, see what people are doing and, if you’re a bit socially awkward like I am, keep people at arms length. But don’t mistake leaving a comment on Facebook or favouriting a tweet for real interaction. Get off the sofa, put your phone on silent and go visit someone. Have a cup of tea with them, ask them about their day. And treasure them. You can always catch up with emails, you can do that personality quiz later, and those cat videos aren’t going anywhere.
But the people that matter to you, they’ve got an expiry date. So make the most of them while they’re here.
Well, that was a bit morbid, sorry. But at least I wrote something!