December 31st, 2013 – 2.30 am
Knock knock. Knock knock knock. What the….!!! I woke up with a jerk. As did my ma. We rushed to the door. A million questions fighting for coherence in our bleary-eyed, sleep-disturbed state. My ma looked through the peep hole in the door. Cautious. Bated breath. Yet breathing hard. Who? Why? What?
A security guard and a short man all wrapped up in mufflers and woolies, looking like thugs actually, were at our door, mumbling. It was cold outside. We were trying hard to be present. Coherence seemed absent. We asked, we repeated, we weren’t sure what was being said. Finally sense emerged.
Our neighbour had called the short man, (waiting outside our door) a few minutes ago. “Listen am feeling unwell, could you please come and take me to a doctor?” The friend had rushed from his home to help his friend’s plea. When he arrived at the doorstep, he knocked, rang the doorbell, knocked again, but there was an ominous silence. He rushed to the security guard. They both had obviously tried to get a response from the one who had called. They then knocked at our door. We had a spare key.
2.45 am – Knock, knock, anyone there?
We rushed. We knocked. We called out. Silence so loud an orchestra wouldn’t be heard then.What now? Neighbours were requested to come and help.
3.10 am – Enter.
Confabulations. Knocks. Cellphone buttons pushed. Push against the door. Hollering. Ruckus. More neighbours rushing to find out what the ruckus was about! Finally, open the door. We enter.
3.12 am – Life delete.
A young man in his late 30s. Lying on a mattress on the floor. He was looking heavenwards. Lifeless. One life, deleted. Just like that.
After his lifeless body was taken away in an ambulance, and things were settled in a manner of speaking, my body began trembling. I didn’t realise it then, but this sudden death had shaken me up. I don’t think I will forget the way the body lay there prone, lifeless. It was December 31st. The beginning of the end of a year. And the coming of age of a new year. It seemed to me that life was indeed calling out to me, telling me something. Urgently.
In that moment this is what I learnt. Something we all inherently know but it takes something momentous for us to realise.
a) Life beats to the rhythm of its own drummer. You and I don’t have any control over it. So let’s quit pretending that we do.
b) Time on Earth is a gift. Yes dammit, every nano-second of every second of every minute of every hour of every day is precious. We don’t value it and we delude ourselves that “tomorrow” is another day. Really? Do you know for sure that you’ll live to tell the tale?
c) When death stares us in the face, there is NO TIME to re-live our life. The “dammit, I should have, could have, would have, if only” doesn’t have time to find itself in blogs, letters, words, FB comments, Twitter feeds or just face-to-face time over coffee.
d) If our lives are the closet storing all our memories and moments, then it’s time to de-clutter it once in a while when it gets too heavy. Spring cleaning it of relationships, memories and resolutions gone rancid is non-negotiable.
- How can we create fresh memories and moments when our closets are full of debilitating old ones?
- How can we nurture relationships when old fetid ones are crippling us?
- How can we take action on new purpose-filled intentions when old unfulfilled ones are winking at us, mocking us at our own foibles?
As I have been breathing in and out each day since December 31st, I know I have been fervently praying and my prayer to the Universe is this: let me be true to my intention and purpose of living my life courageously, abundantly and joyously, now, in this moment, here. So help me Universe for I know you have my back.
December 31st, 2013, I got a wake-up call. I am trying, God knows I am trying, to enjoy this moment here, now. This is all I have. You, me, this blog post here. What happens after, what came before is of no consequence. All I have is now.
#jbc What are you thinking about? The shoulda/coulda/woulda, when I? Wake up and smell the coffee. Life is brewing. Now!
(Tweets from my Twitter account disappear after a while and hence they don’t appear here as well. Limitations of technology.)