2016 was a good year for me! My best for many years . I escaped from a job, or moreover an organisation, I’d come to despise and, because they made me redundant (thank you, BCS) I was able to follow my heart and my dream and WRITE for a living. I’m lucky. I know it. New babies came into our family too – always such pure joy. We also went on a wonderful holiday to New York and Canada. So, despite all the Brexit and Trump voting, neither of which really affects me on a daily basis, 2016 was a good year.
Then came 2017 and the magpie knocked on my door – quite literally!
A soft tapping on the front door, not like the knocker which reverberates through the house, and I looked out of the window and saw a magpie. It was clutching onto the brickwork around the door frame, leaning over and tapping on the door with its beak. I watched in amazement.
That afternoon my dad died.
Whether you believe in superstition or omens, or not, it was certainly very strange. One for sorrow – they say of magpies.
Yes, he was very old and he’d been sick for a few days – that’s all – but we didn’t expect him to die. We thought he was invincible. But he wasn’t.
It’s fairly common knowledge that January has the highest death rate in the UK – I even mentioned it in one of my short stories in Twelve. It’s not surprising really when you consider it’s the middle of miserable winter, but it meant that we had to wait more than three weeks for his funeral. And everything stopped in those three weeks. WH Auden’s poem Stop All The Clocks (Funeral Blues) has never felt so true.
Life is short – no matter how long we live. I’ve decided that’s it’s my duty to seek out joy and pleasure. To love life, to live it – on my terms. To try to smile more often – difficult when your mouth naturally turns down! To enjoy the small things as well as the large. Not to take life too seriously. To be kind to others and try to bring joy to them also.
To enjoy life, because life is too short to be miserable.