Life and Death.
I walk past this tree most days, as it is on my favourite footpath when walking our Labrador. The river flows the other side of the path and despite only being a short step or two from the houses I can always feel my shoulders relax when I reach this point.
The tree, for me, symbolises so much. It has stood on this spot for a very long time indeed, it has seen seasons come and go, and no doubt children who played around it in years gone by have since brought their children and grandchildren to play too.
The ancient branches are now a mixture of injured and healthy. The injured ones can no longer perform their duty, but the healthy ones still flourish and proudly hold their new leaves each year.
Despite its age and injured limbs the tree still looks majestic, be it with the backdrop of a cloudy sky, or as in recent weeks, the brightest of blue.
We are similar to the tree in so many ways. We put down roots, we watch the seasons change, and parts of our bodies fail to work as before, and yet we can still flourish and bring joy to those around us. If we were lucky we played with our children and they now bring their children and grandchildren to play with us too.
Seeing this tree makes me think about the life I have lived, but also the time I have between now and when I die. I don't fear death, I know that it will happen, I just don't know when. I hope to live until I am 100, but if I go tomorrow I will have led a good life and I hope that those left will celebrate that (bless them all for having to deal with my wacky funeral plan)!
What I aim to do with the years I have left, however many they may be, is to do what the tree continues to do, hold on, enjoy the ride and flourish as much as I can.
When I visit clients to talk about their loved one it is always so wonderful to hear about a special trip that was planned and taken, the chance to meet a new family member or just a celebration held with friends that brought so much pleasure. Sadly there are some visits where I learn that those opportunities were never realised, and therefore I am more determined than ever to enjoy the time I have left, to tell those who mean the most to me that I love them and to grab every opportunity to catch up with friends, spend time with those I love and generally enjoy life.
Remember life is for living and you are a very long time dead!