Hereafter

Last weekend one of my best friends, along with her family and friends, commemorated the life of her father, whom they tragically and suddenly lost two years ago. Being present at an occasion like this, even not having known the individual personally, has helped me to understand how life continues after death, for both the mourned and the mourning, through lasting legacies and relationships. It was a beautiful sunny spring day, the house and garden spilling over with delicious food, drinks, and more importantly, a concoction of wonderful people connected by and present to celebrate their friend, brother, uncle, partner, dad, and more. Since his death, at occasions like these over the years, hearing countless anecdotal snippets of funny, sad, heart warming and heart wrenching stories has, for me, pieced together a simulacrum of his character and soul, built up through the relationships he made, the lives he changed and impact he left on all of those around him. A garden packed full of people, each with their memories and relationships – shared and individual, past and present – conjured up such a sense of being that proves our existence goes beyond our physical embodiment; a simulation of his spirit and company that has the power to deeply resonate with and perhaps comfort those dearly missing him. Although he is gone, his presence so clearly persists, through each and every one of those who’s hearts and lives he touched. When thinking about how to measure who we are and what our worth is, this is never clearer felt than by what we impart on others, and the relationships we forge with them. Our character cannot be summarised by our individual qualities alone, or even our personal accolades and achievements. We simply don’t exist in isolation to our intertwined experiences and emotions, developed through shared conversations, music, laughs, debates and so on. It is these which we should treasure above all else, and what we leave behind.

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