Life without you

As I one Saturday morning enjoyed a late breakfast, read the news and checked mail, I re-read a favoured online diary, for the Gods knows which time reading a touching post about the goodbye with her father, who had past way too soon. The love, the devotion and the close bond was clear, and once more I got caught by the text, almost feeling I was there when it happened, and I wished I had been, having been able to give support and warmth...

..The scene faded into the remembrance of an early November morning, where I held my granddad in the hand together with the rest of the family, as we said goodbye and he quietly left us after having been sick for a long time. The thoughts moved on to how outer circumstances prevented me from getting a quiet time by his side afterwards, and how I felt it catch up on me, as I stood by the waterfront in Seattle a late evening, contemplating the reflexes of the light of the distant sunset twinkling lazily in the black water of Puget Sound.
I sought a peaceful place and found a catholic church, lit a candle in a remote chapel, and sitting on my knees in front of it I spoke without words with him about the things, that weren't said enough, about the time we had had together and about times to come, while the tears slowly covered my face, before they hit the floor with a low sound. Each of them reminded me of how much I cared for him, of my doubt about whether I had shown it enough, and of my despair over not being able to do it anymore.
I promised both him and myself to do my best to carry on his loving nature, to get the most out of this life and give back everything possible, while I am here.
When the candle had burned out, I stumbled out into a starlit night on aching knees, took a deep breath and smiled quietly, as I sensed him next to me.

Around 3 AM an August night two years later I was sitting on an uncomfortable bench in a dark and deserted hospital in Lhasa watching over my grandmother, who was about to die from a cocktail of acute diseases and a Kafkaesque health system. She woke up and pointed vaguely out into the darkness at the wall across the room, while she in a low but clear voice asked, if we should go into the light. As I took her hand, I glanced at the unchanged picture on the monitor and softly said, that I would like her to stay, if she could. She sent me a tired look, nodded vaguely and got a short expression of mental effort, before she fell into a deep sleep. Two hours later we began the journey away from the hospital and towards qualified treatment in Kathmandu.
...She is still here, happy for the things she still can do, because she knows that every day is a gift, also even though she miss her husband every day.

Like so many others I can look back at situations, where pure luck or incidental attention is the reason we are alive and move on, unharmed and hopefully wiser. Situations, where half a meter, a second or another persons action made the whole difference as to whether the show ended, took a horrible turn or continued more or less the same.
    Besides learning to be more careful making left turns, picking mushrooms and morningshaving with sabre, there is also another and more important lesson to learn: What we have and how to appreciate it, while we have it. You don't have to have danced with death to know it will come - we all know. Until then life can offer a horn of plenty of both good and bad, and the only thing certain is, that everything with a beginning has an end. I am not just thinking of life as a whole, but also all the tings it consist of. Everything is only here for a period, that we not necessarily can control. Take good care of it and enjoy it - it might not be waiting for you.
I see many, way too many, caught in almost routine-like frustrations over small and big things, that they either could change or be fine living with, but where it seems temptingly more easy to fall into apathetic selfpitty than take responsibility and either change the things or accept them as they are and use the energy on something better.
    I see people clinging to something lost; people focusing on the loss without eye for and happiness over having had something good and beautiful to loose; without remembering, that they also experienced and enjoyed the good and beautiful, before it disappeared again.
    I see people filling their life with noise, so they don't have to think about hard questions about what they want with it. One day they turn wondering around and look back with disappointment and often bitterness over, what else they could have gotten out of the time.
    It can hardly be completely avoided to spend time on 'wrong' things, but it can for a great part be avoided by being a bit conscious about who you are and what you want, and even 'wrong' things can teach a good lesson... and then it's not a complete waste :o)    We are all human, and I suppose we all fall in these traps to some extend. But if they are known they are also easier to recognize, and then the first step onwards is already made. Each time it gets easier to move on, it gets easier to avoid the traps, and the negative in life is slowly reduced.

Most of us, if not all, have the basic conditions for being happy fulfilled. The key is the mental approach. I am not saying that people should walk braindead and ignorant through life; people should of course relate to it and all its aspects. I am talking about the view put on the observations and experiences, they do; what they use them for, and how they choose to react on the twists and turns of life. We can't decide everything happening in life, but we can decide how we react on it.
    Know yourself and your values, know your wishes and goals, stand by them and pursue them with the degree of enthusiasm suiting you. Show your loved ones, that you care about them - every day. And most important; enjoy it all while doing it! :o)
This likely endless process of getting increasingly better at seeing the beauty in life and eachother, at comprehending eachother and being able to love, so the loved one can feel it to the full extent; that process was for me started by a human with flaws and shortcomings like everybody else, but he was most of all human.

Stevie Ray Vaughan wrote 'Life Without You', when a close friend suddenly died. During a concert he gave the song a longer explanation and ended it: "Please take care of yourself and those that you love... because that's what we are here for, that's all we've got, and that is what we can take with us."
I smile in silent gratitude when I hear it, while I think of an old man with a big heart and of the precious heritage, he passed on.


Oh now baby, tell me how have you been
We all have missed you and the way you grin
The day is necessary every now and then
for souls to move on, givin' life back again, and again
Fly on, fly on fly on, my friend
Go on, live again, love again

Day after day, night after night
Sittin' here singin' every minute
as the years go passing by, by, by, by...
Long look in the mirror
we've come face to face
Wishin' all the love we took for granted
(was) love we have today

Life without you
all the love you passed my way
The angels have waited for so long
now they have their way
Take your place...