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DSC_0518This year, as a friend commented on Facebook, my life has turned into a “working title production”.  Two of my immediate family, my brother and my father, died and I got married in October.  The year isn’t over yet, but I am feeling reflective

What I’ve learnt in a nutshell:

Life is short.  For some of us (my brother was only 59) it is way too short.  So cram in as much as you can, make time for fun and enjoyment because no one ever died wishing they had spent more time working.  Make a bucket list and start working towards ticking things off. Get as much done as you possibly can within your allotted time.

Life is for the living.  It does you no good to dwell on regrets, guilt, death and all the feelings associated with them.  The person who has passed on is no longer worrying about the last argument you had or whether or not you had visited them in the last 2 days.  Focus on the good memories, and when you think of them smile.  It’s the best way of remembering your loved ones.  And if you have these feelings…change!  Make time for people you love while you still have them, that way you won’t ever be back in this position.

Corporations Lie.  No matter how sympathetic the person on the phone may appear to be all they actually want to do is get their money.  They will (and do) lie if they have to.  Be warned, get advice and stick to your guns.  Mostly this means they eventually bugger off.

Make a Will.  You can do this yourself and there are lots of internet sites to help you, it need not cost you a penny.  Even if you think you have nothing, or it will all go to so-and-so, do one anyway.  It will save a lot of hassle for those left behind.

Be Excellent to Each Other.  Back to life being short.  Take time out to show some kindness to people, even strangers.  Love people while they are here to be loved and be less selfish.  Don’t hold grudges, it’s not worth the angst, time or energy.

Life Assurance.  If you can get it, get it.  I am not a big believer in insurance policies, but trust me this is one that is well worth it as far as your loved ones are concerned.  Don’t think you can rely on the State funeral grant or anything else, you can’t.  I speak from experience.

Ask for Help.  I’ve saved this till last because it is the most important.  If you find yourself floundering ask for help.  If you have picked your friends wisely (and I have) they will amaze you with the amount of practical, financial, physical and emotional support they will provide.  If you become overwhelmed emotionally see a Dr, get some help either with counselling or medication.  Don’t suffer in silence.  Do be prepared to reciprocate and help when someone else needs it.