16 February 2012
51 years old
I’m just back from a funeral, and exhausted from chatting, crying and eating cake. It’s strange how we often don’t know a lot about a person’s life until it’s over. We avoid conversations with older people, thinking they would have nothing of interest to say to us. I’m as guilty of this as anybody, and yet I know every life is a story or rather many stories.
There was certainly a lot to say about Uncle Ray, but what made the biggest impression on me was all the charity and volunteer work he did. Not like myself who collects money once in a while for the Red Cross and does canteen duty at my kid’s school, but 35 years of community service, from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. As the minister spoke I thought about what would be said at my funeral: a caring mother, a good wife, a creative spirit, a published author – not too terrible, but hardly impressive. And yet I do have convictions about many things and would like to make changes in the world.
Apart from the big and obvious things: an end to poverty and violence, I’d love to see a world where every child was wanted and nourished, where older people were valued and respected and where everyone cared more about one another, cared more about the environment and the other animals that share our planet. A world where people lead sentient lives. Fewer shoes, bags, phones, stuff and more love and good deeds.