The Precariousness of Life
Sometimes I think that we can become numb to bad news, especially when it comes in quick succession. Recently there has been quite a bit of it globally and we are used to hearing it, broadcast with sound and image, often leaving us just stunned and usually silent in disbelief.
But when the bad news affects us on a very personal level then the emotions become more focused…anger, hurt, helplessness, philosophical. We look for different ways of dealing with grief. Over the last few days two pieces of sad news hit me in quick succession, leaving me feeling quite empty.
Firstly some terrible news about someone I had only met a few times, and who some readers would also have met. Most attendees at the recent TruLondon would have seen the ‘Jobsite studio’, the filming room where we did the live streaming and recorded vox pops with the track leaders. If you were one of the people who came into the room, either to film or just see what was going on, you would have noticed Fraser MacLennan, the guy behind the camera who kept everything ticking along. We had borrowed him from a division of our parent company specifically to help with the event.
He was a great help to everyone, making sense of the live streaming intricacies and keeping the vox pops down to manageable length. In the few weeks since he has helped guide me through some of the finer points of editing.
We heard last week that Fraser had been seriously hurt in a road accident. All we knew was that he had been hit by a car whilst walking near his home. Sadly, on Friday, we found out that he had passed away.
I’ll let the last sentence hang there…because there’s little I can add. A young guy with bags of enthusiasm and creativity, I didn’t know him well enough to add anything meaningful, except to convey the shock and sadness that I and countless others will feel. What an unbelievably sad waste of a young life.
The sadness was still with me on Saturday morning when I received a phone call from a close friend. She told me that a mutual friend was seriously ill in hospital, unlikely to pull through. The sick friend is someone we see maybe 3 or 4 times a year, and last saw at a party on Boxing Day.
She had been diagnosed with bowel cancer a few years ago and had successfully responded to treatment, beating the illness. Feeling that she had been given a second chance, she and her husband planned to alter their working arrangements to allow them to enjoy life and their time together. Part of this was a long saved for trip travelling around South America. They returned from this a few days ago, but by the time they got back she was sick. Going straight to hospital she was diagnosed with having contracted Hepatitis E whilst on the trip. As of Saturday morning the prognosis was that she was unlikely to survive.
I’m sorry for the starkness of this post. It’s something I needed to write. The weekend has gone on regardless, and both myself and my partner (the sick friend is someone she has known for many years) have dealt with it together. I think it was the suddenness that really got me…no illness, no preparation for what may be about to happen (not that it can ever ease the pain).
And I have also had Twitter. That much maligned social networking platform has been a great comfort and, when distraction was been needed, it kept my mind occupied with trivia…be it punk rock, football, bingo or ice-cream. I noticed someone in the network recently complain about all the trivia on Twitter…well, it’s a conversation platform and sometimes trivia is just fine. Amongst the self-promotion, showboating and never-ending optimism, it’s often the trivia and humour that keep people coming back.
This isn’t the blog that I was planning on posting today. That was a business oriented one about the futility of certain cold call approaches. And futile is how it all feels right now.
Life is precarious, sometimes too fragile to be ignored. If ever I needed a reminder to seize the day and grab every opportunity to enjoy it then this weekend provided it. You never know what will happen next.
In times of sadness one song always gives me comfort and lifts the spirits…Do You Realize?? by Flaming Lips
I’ll be listening to it this morning
Do you realize
That you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize
We’re floating in space?
Do you realize
That happiness makes you cry?
Do you realize
That everyone you know someday will die?
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes
Let them know you realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round