The start of this year started off with sad reminders of how tenuous life can be. Three deaths of people either close to us, or close to very close friends of ours within 17 days….
We arrived home today after attending the funeral of a very dear friends brother in Perth yesterday. Norm was only 66, and was still working up until less than two months ago, when he became ill. An aggressive form of cancer cheated him of his retirement years, allowing him less than two months from diagnosis till his passing. Less than two months – time only for him to plan his funeral and to put his affairs in order so as to minimise the paperwork for Jane after he was gone. No time for any final ‘bucket list’ wish lists, no time for one last holiday, no time to celebrate one last birthday or anniversary.
Norm wasn’t from the generation ahead of us. He was of our generation. He didn’t die from an accident. He died from natural causes, reminding me that we’re getting closer every day to the time when our own number is up. I always think of life, or should I say death as sort of a lottery, figuratively speaking. In one’s early days very few lottery tickets are allocated, but as we get older more and more tickets come our way. We could hold the winning ticket (or should I say losing ticket) at any time, but as we age and more and more tickets come our way, the chances of holding ‘the ticket’ increases dramatically.
Norm’s death has served as a reminder that the time we have left is unknown, that each day, week, month and year that passes brings us a day, week, month or year closer to our own time running out.
That bucket list won’t wait. We have to tick the important things off while we can. We have to proverbially ‘make hay while the sun shines’. We have to live life while we still have life left to live. In honour of those, like Norm, for whom life was cut short, we have to live our own lives to the fullest.
And so – we look to our ‘Bucket list’. Top of our list for many years has been the Gibb River Road. For those of you who don’t know, the Gibb River Road is a four wheel drive track running through the Kimberleys in Northern Western Australia. It’s not a place we can take our caravan. We’ve ordered a little tent on line, are researching comfortable air mattresses, and places to store our caravan for a few weeks up near the start of the track. This winter, all going well, the Gibb river track will be incorporated into our northern winter sojourn. How exciting!
And we’ve booked a short cruise. We’ve fancied trying a cruise for some time now, but have never had the time. It feels like it’s the right time to make time. We don’t know if it’ll be something we’ll like, so we’re trying it out with only a short nine night cruise departing from Sydney at the end of March.
Plans for a busy year are shaping up, a full year, a very satisfying year. It’s good to be alive!