Love letter to a dying light

May 6, 2015


Clouds “How you would live if you knew for sure where the end was?” Turns out it wasn’t a trite opener, a sharp chat-up or a poignant pondering, but a question that’s both practical and pressing for a new friend who has the answer of where the end will be – for him at least. His direct ask of me – still a relative stranger to him – was what I would do, and how I would choose to live, if I knew where my end would be. Would I live differently? It wasn’t asked with assumption or agenda but gently and kindly.

Coincidentally it’s just over a year since I lost someone who was a huge part of my life. For better and for worse he was formative and significant – who and how I am now, in large part, was born of my relationship with him. He died suddenly leaving so very much unsaid. Quite apart from the immediate emptiness and sadness, in true uncompromising style, his death put it up to me to really think about the choices I was making and what I was “settling for” versus passionately chasing because therein lay the real potential for happiness.

From that, has come a year of huge change filled with loss, growth, pain, joy, humour and insight, but it has also left me with innumerable questions I can’t begin to see the answers to. And some even more pressing questions where I have the unwanted answer, despite myself.

In the immediate, the answer to my new friend didn’t take as long to form as I’d have thought or might have hoped… “Fearlessly. That’s how I’d live”. I didn’t expect to say it, I didn’t know I felt it – somehow hearing words come out of your own mouth can unintentionally floor you.

But, the unexpected doesn’t deter a dying man. This wasn’t his hardest question… “So what’s stopping you?” he asked. Desperately seeking safer territory, I listed the multitude of very practical things that daily prevent me from running away to a desert island… the mortgage, the sheer impracticality of just packing it all in and making a fresh start, responsibilities (perceived and real) to friends and family and to the life I’ve worked hard (I think?) to create. Money – no one can afford to just walk away from it all and I quite like money – not as the end but for the choices it buys. The fact it’s just “not done”.

Loneliness – I’d miss people, I used to be more independent but am relationship-softened and no longer have the hard edges that stave off loneliness. Fear – what about when I’m old, I’d have no one, it’s already really just me, but at least it’s familiar… I just couldn’t. Obligation – change can hurt people, and order – even imperfect order – is better than uncontrolled change. As will happen when you’re supportively uninterrupted or censored, eventually I wore myself and my list out.

He pressed – that wasn’t what he was asking – a desert-island fantasy isn’t really living life, at least not the way he meant… it’s running away. It’s a day-dream escape, the mere echo of a life that’s lived. He didn’t mean avoiding the gas bill or giving up work, he didn’t mean not having complications, demands and stress, his “fearless life” wasn’t to be devoid of responsibility or lived in the abstract – it would have as many (maybe more, definitely more) people to whom there would be responsibilities, commitments, expectations. He didn’t want a simpler life for me, but one that was as complicated and colourful, as messy and lived, as love-filled and passionately vibrant as I would want it to be.

“So what’s stopping you…?”


“So what’s really stopping you…?”

Me. I am.

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About frimframworld

Total coffee fan, dedicated foodie & news hound. Strategic PR & political comms as a day job. All comments my own - blogging in a personal capacity only.

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One Comment on “Love letter to a dying light”

  1. Pepper goes with everything Says:

    A brave post, I hope you got as much out of writing it as I did from reading it. Thank you.


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