I was driving to work the other day and saw two guys standing on the side of the road cleaning and tidying the area around a white cross sign. In New Zealand it’s 'common' to find these white crosses next to the road where a loved one was killed. Sometimes these crosses are adorned with flowers, teddy bears and the like. These two men stood up and waved to the driver of a stock freight truck driving in front of me, passing them by.
It looked like a father and son tending the side of the road. Their car was parked with the boot open en the son was clearing weeds. Would it be his sister who’d died there? How often would they go here and tend the area marking her death? Is it important that they go together? After having written about men before being sometimes quite oblivious to remembering important dates I was touched by seeing these two working side by side, remembering and looking after the small area of grass next to this road of tar. That’s genuine love for you. Why would they do it otherwise?
It’s a funny world we live in and we forget how quickly we can literally dash out of it. Bang! Dead. The same applies to those we love who surround us. Sometimes we may take them for granted as we think they will always be there.
My friend Miranda had found it disturbing when I once told her I didn’t think I would live to be very old. The look on her face showed that she was disappointed she wouldn’t have the chance for us to sit together like grannies having a cup of tea discussing the state of affairs in the tea cozies industry. What do you mean you’ll be lucky to reach 70?! The truth is that I don’t care so much about growing old, more about the quality of my life. I’ll probably go with a bang and that’s fine with me. No long lingering dramas, just poof! Gone. Check out time.
That time has not come yet as obviously I sit here typing. For others the finality comes before they are good and ready. How can you be ‘ready’ anyway? That must be the point to let go of it. It is profoundly sad when it happens for the people surrounding the ones dying. I like the idea that even though we depart we are still there should we choose to. This way we may lose our physical bodies but not the essentials that make up who we are. It takes away the fear many of us have towards ‘the end’. What if there never is an ending to our being? Why would we worry about it? We could just happily continue on doing stuff and get used to it working slightly different. Anyway, that’s just a thought.
So, as we tend to the side of the road we remember and plant for the future. We shape our lives and that of others as we go. Nothing is forever and yet, it is.