This blog isn’t your obvious championing of life, but rather about the raw fragility of it….

It is a tribute to a close friend of mine who has sadly lost his long and very brave fight against a vicious and ever so cruel cancer. Only those who have experienced cancer first hand can appreciate what it is like to watch someone literally disappear before your eyes. Where once a strong person stood, a mere, and hardly recognisable, shell remains on that final day.

Death of someone our own age leaves us confused as to what we should be doing with our lives, as it could have been any one of us. Why the good ones are taken is possibly explained by a belief system, but for most, it just isn’t fair. Why would God take a hard working, fun, loyal and loving husband and father of two young children? A five year old doesn’t even know what death is.

I experienced death first hand when I lost my mother to cancer. She was only 2 years older than I am now when she got cancer. When it was happening she seemed so much older. Now we are there we realise how very young being 40-something really is. I suspect it is the same in each decade.

None of us know how long our journey is meant to be or what is in store for us, but it is never to early to do your bucket list and make sure when the day comes you can say ‘I lived my life without regret‘.

Take a moment to look at your life and ask yourself if you are truly living life without regret, and if you are happy with where you are and what you have achieved. If not, then do something about it.

In memory of Craig Ross Junior who died 6 January 2012.

10 Responses to “Fragility of Life”

  1. Hilbre

    I’m very sorry for the loss of your friend and also to those that he leaves behind.

    Having myself experienced first hand the loss of a life to cancer your blog is very true, and sometimes it’s only when we experience something like this does it actually make you stop and think. Everyday life is very good at getting in the way of the big important thoughts. In some ways the loss of one life can reinstill life into an other.

    We can never know in advance our path and the journey we are destined to take so all the more reason to make sure you enjoy the view. You help people to do this which is a very worthy pursuit

    Lots of love

  2. Thanks so much Clare for your kind words of support and for sharing your own thoughts on death and reminding us to enjoy the view…look forward to seeing you soon.

  3. I think that western society as a whole is very uncomfortable with the idea of death. We don’t talk about it, we don’t like to think about our own endings and we are awkward about expressing and sharing grief, when death touches our lives.

    When an elderly person dies, there is a sense of the rightness of their time ending. However great the loss we can more readily make a peace, with their life having come full circle. However, when a young person dies, it disrupts the order of life. It jarrs and leaves a terrible sense of unfairness and so many questions of ‘why’ ?

    I don’t know how a young widow makes her peace with the loss of her partner and her children’s father. I don’t know how parents accept the loss of their only son. I don’t know what words offer comfort.

    I do know, however, that for the rest of us, there is gratitude for knowing such a wonderful guy – in my case I hadn’t seen Craig for about ten years, but I have warm memories of someone genuine, fun, kind and life enhancing. There is the reminder as both Hilbs and Clare say, that life is so very short and how often we forget to live it well. That all any of us have, is the moment, and that lesson which is so hard to learn, that every moment should count.

    They say that death is but a horizon, and a horizon just the limit of our earthly eyes. The essence of those we love, lives on in our thoughts, memories, children and the odd moments where they feel as present as they ever were. A part of us is always with them, and in turn a part of them will always reside in us….and maybe, therefore the loss isn’t total, a light keeps burning, and a peace may, in time, be found.

  4. My grandmother was stolen from us by cancer some ten years ago. Although she was not as young as Craig, she was vibrant, fun loving and full of energy. An energy we had taken for granted as we assumed it would go on a great deal longer than it did.

    We watched her fade suddenly from a big personality to the shell Hilbre mentions in her article. I think I was more traumatised by what the cancer did to her than her final demise. Her loss was unbearable and unbelievable at the time and my eyes still fill with tears when I stop to look at her photo displayed in my sitting room. However we have not lost her completely, when I am sad, scared or lonely it is often her I talk to in my head and although I do not believe in God or an afterlife I do believe she is ‘there’ in some form and that gives me comfort. Ultimately she left a part of herself inside me and other members of my family so she is all around us all the time.

    For a long time her death made me very scared that it was going to happen again to someone else that I love and I lived in fear but now I feel that her loss does make me live better with more appreciation for small things. I also feel that I am more forgiving, take less for granted and view life with a different perspective, small petty worries can be seen for what they are and a clearer focus placed on the things which really matter.

    With regard to a bucket list or living life without regret, life is complicated and sometimes difficult and making changes which could make us feel more content sometimes seem to be out of our control, especially when you naturally tend to want to put your children’s needs before your own. However thank you Hilbre, for making us think and consider the small steps we could take to help us live our life without regret.

    My warmest wishes to Craig’s family.

  5. Oh Hilbs what a beautiful blog. It brought tears to my eyes. Losing someone is never easy and I can only begin to imagine the pain Craig’s wife is going through. We should never take anyone or anything for granted and live each day as though it is our last. I have now started on my bucket list with a feeling of happiness as life is for living. A huge hug to Craig’s wife and children.

  6. Dear Hilbre,

    I am very sorry for the loss of your friend, I deeply feel with you….

    Your blog about fragility of life reached my mail box on the 20th of January, just minutes after I have received the message from my sister that her father-in-law has past away in the morning. He lost his fight against cancer. I immediately stopped everything I was supposed doing that morning. This was a very obvious reminder, a meaningful coincidence, to contemplate and to reflect life right now. I remember our last conversation in June 2011. He did not know that he had cancer at that time. I never thought that this would be our last good-by.

    I look at my hand right now! I am not “old” but I can see that I am growing old. I know that age is not an indicator or a guaranty for the remaining lifetime. I just know that wonderful people such as your friend or my sister’s father-in-law are little warnings to remind us that we are not immortal. Now, I am enjoying my moments with loved ones even more, but how easily do we forget that life is fragile…

    Thank you Hilbre for reminding me!



  7. Thank you Hilbre for sharing with us. As you know, I have experienced a terrible loss recently and am taking time to really live without regret but also to be truly grateful for what I have.

  8. Thank you so much to all of you for your kind words of support and wisdom. I know Lyane has been reading this blog and I feel comforted in the fact that she knows others out there care, even if they don’t necessarily know her. As women I believe one of our greatest gifts is our ability to support each other purely as women.

  9. I decided to take the kids skiing, maybe mountain air is just what we needed.I had no idea just how hard it would be without Craig and hardest of all was how much I longed for him to be there and just to see.

    Craig was motivated and passionate about so many things and skiing was just one of them, he was modest and very quietly competitive and therefore would excel whilst leaving me sadly lagging behind. For the first time ever I took on the red and black runs like I never had before and conquered them all with relative ease. I wanted so much for my husband to have seen and to have been proud of me. For him to have seen his son conquering the pommer and skiing down confidently completely on his own; and to have seen his little girl wooing the slopes in her trendy shades and taking on skiing for the first time with the same attitude that she applies to life. “If I want to do it then I will and if I don’t I won’t!” I will never forget the day that she progressed from the travellator to the pommer, and after just one go up with support from my friend Ginny, she barged to the front of the queue like a true french kid and jumped on with absolutely no instruction what so ever. She held on, stayed on and got off with complete independence. Those of you who ski will know that is no mean feat.

    Hilbre always tells me to look for the signs, look into nature and up at the stars; that his spirit will be there to guide me. No matter how hard I looked there were no signs, but then it came to me as clear as the sun shining in the sky one lazy afternoon in Chamonix.

    Having taken the kids swimming we were all enjoying a very late lunch. As we finished our food a french guy started to play the guitar and sing really well. The songs were all covers, Cold Play and similar bands featured heavily – Craig’s sort of music. I even had a smile on my face – not something I can easily relax enough to do. Then completely out of character came ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ by Frank Sinatra…… This was our first dance at our wedding and our blessing too. Hiding behind my sunglasses the tears fell heavily from my eyes. I listened, I sang, I remembered and I thought this must me the sign, but then as this perfect stranger brought this poignant song of ours to an end and changed the words to the end of this famous song, and instead of singing, “and darling I love you” – he sang, “and darling I miss you”. I knew, I really knew that my beloved husband was watching over us, he was proud of us and he was longing for me to smile once more.

    I will never stop missing him, I will never stop longing for him to be there just to see, but I must be strong and I must continue to make him proud and to let him live on in our beautiful children. I will never forget him and now I will always look for the signs that he is still there to guide me on my way.

    I want to thank you Hilbre for the love and support that you showed my husband, I know how hard it was for you to see the evil ways of this disease once more. I want to thank you for being a constant source of love and support to our whole family, but most of all I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for inspiring me to believe. You are amazing. x

  10. Lyane I know it must have taken great courage to write what you have and I thank you for sharing it. You write beautifully and I know you want to tell your story which will be both a humbling as well as a very insightful and positive read on the power of love and what lies beyond this world as we know it.

    I cried when I pictured you sitting there surrounded by so many people hiding your pain and loneliness behind your sunglasses, but at the same time I felt very re-assured that there is definitely more to life that we know.

    I have always believed that when people die their souls are merely released from their bodies and they once again join the collective consciousness that surrounds all of us. Craig, as well as my mother, and others that have gone before us are definitely watching over us and if we do see the signs it gives us great comfort to carry on and as you say make them proud…

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