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November 30, 2006

Anniversaries .....

The last month has seens a number of anniversaries, some good, some sad. Today sees another, St Andrew's Day may well be Scotland's Saint's day, it is also the annual speech day of a public schoool of some renown in South Africa - and it is the day one of my mentors, the father of a very dear friend took his own life at the age of 82. He had had several run ins with cancer, all his contemporaries and friends had predeceased him and he simply felt that continuing with a life that required a pharmacy load of pills every day and which did not provide him with any real pleasure was no longer worth living. It was a reminder that sometimes our prowess at keeping people alive exceeds our ability to recognise the fact that their life no longer has any meaning for them. It is a tragedy when that happens.

Earlier this month was the sixth anniversary of my mothers death, again unexpected and perhaps a little premature, but when I look back at how she was at that point, I have to confess that having become housebound and to a large extent isolated, she too had outlived all her friends and no longer enjoyed the quality of life that she would have liked to have. Perhaps she too had had enough. We remembered her and several other of my mentors, friends and family at the Requiem for All Souls, just as we remembered Ashley whose anniversary falls today.

With the passing of these anniversaries I am more and more conscious of my own mortality. It is made the more pointed by the realisation that I have outlived, in number of years, several of my family in the last generation, although, to be fair, there were some pretty good reasons for that. All of my seniors in the family are now gone, I am the senior generation, and its not that comfortable a feeling to look back on.

Why the introspection? Well, it's in part due to the anniversaries falling at this time of the year - the two I have mentioned and slew of birthdays we used to keep as children and young adults - and it's Advent Sunday looming. Advent is about preparation, and to an extent in preparing, we have to look backj and see what we did right, and what we could really do better. Always a sobering perspective ......

Posted by The Gray Monk at November 30, 2006 09:05 PM

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