Tonight I learned of a death in the family. My auntie (my uncle’s wife) has passed away.
My uncle and auntie lived in Spain, and for all my life, have lived in a different country to us. My auntie had a son, who my uncle later adopted, but as we were growing up, due to distance and a number of other factors, we very rarely saw them. I actually cannot remember the last time I saw her and I never heard from her.
So the news, while sad, should not have too much of an impact on me.
But it did.
My mum called me with the news. Like me, she wasn’t particularly close to her, but her brother’s wife has died. And obviously, my uncle is broken.
This may well sound harsh, but had you have told me earlier in the day that this would happen tonight, I would have thought it was sad, but largely got on with my life, pretty much unaffected.
The reality though is that the impact it has had on others around me, who I love dearly, has desperately upset me. And if I’m honest, it has also given me a bit of a boot in the stomach with the realisation of the fragility of life.
What’s more, it’s made me realise that my parents are getting older and that they are not going to be around forever. And I need to make the most of them over the coming years.
There is nothing astounding about this story, I understand that.
But as I finished the call with my mum, who was crying very quietly (my mum hardly ever cries – one of the strongest women you will ever meet), she told me she loved me and that I am so very precious to her. As of course she is to me.
Asking if she was going to be OK, she simply said, ‘I’ve got your dad. My brother has nobody.’
We live our lives every day, often longing for them to end, or for the week to hurry up and get to the weekend, and most of us ensure that we regularly see those that we love. But often, the hustle and bustle of work, chores, parenting and everything else life throws at us, means that we push aside the things that really matter.
Or that we rush through our visits so that we can tick that off our lists. Without really savoring the time we have together.
And nights like tonight make you realise that you need to reach out, make the effort and spend quality time with the ones that you love. And drink it in and enjoy it.
Because when they are gone, you don’t want to regret not seeing enough of them. You’d rather regret not doing the hoovering that time, or sticking a pizza in the oven, rather than displaying your Masterchef style skills, wouldn’t you? I know I would.
Hug the ones you love tonight and make sure you tell them how much you love them.