What I learnt this week: Life and Death

I just finished reading ‘The Bright Hour,’ by Nina Riggs.  It’s a true story about  her journey from being diagnosed with terminal cancer to her treatment and finally death.  Sounds like a real happy read I know!  But although it’s about death, it was beautiful in the way that it made me think about life…

Nina was a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  His writing has been quoted all over the joint.  And most definitely on my blog somewhere along the way.  The poetry they both created with their words was extremely profound, yet steeped in such realism as they shared their experiences of the world.

In ‘The Bright Hour’ Nina didn’t give up and despair but embraced the time she had left.  Even the most normal things like watching her boys play or taking a ride on a motorbike and feeling the wind in her hair were cherished.  She spent time with the people she cared about the most.  And took the opportunity to grieve for all that she would eventually lose.

Yes, Nina’s book is about moving closer to death.  But we all die, we just don’t like to talk about it.  Which is funny because we’re surrounded by death.  All you have to do is turn the TV on or pop onto your phone and bam it’s there!  The truth is death is something most of us can’t imagine ourselves doing, yet it’s the only inevitable thing in life.

And it’s healthy to regcognise it will happen and we don’t know when. Reading the book made me more aware of how I’m living my life.   It made me to look more closely at the doing the things I wanted to do rather than the things I thought I ‘should’ do.

When I finished reading the book tears streamed down my face.  But in some weird way I felt comforted.  I saw that dying wasn’t the worst thing- not living your life truly is way more scary.  Nina was someone who really loved and really lived, though she knew death was knocking on the door.  And that’s something we could all do a little more of- really living and really loving.

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