Fragile

I’ve been thinking quite a lot (too much, probably) about 2 incidents that have occurred in London recently.

The first is the very unlucky death of a woman in Mayfair last week. One moment she was walking along, minding her own business on her lunch break and the next she was felled by a half-ton window.

Something similar happened to a pedestrian a few years ago on Tower Bridge Road when a bus hit a tree.

It just goes to show the tenuous grip that all of us have on life. For me it also highlights the importance of having your ‘ducks in a row’. If you were to vacate the planet tomorrow, are you happy with the state of affairs you would leave behind? Or would your loved ones have to deal with the chaos, guilt and uncertainty of not knowing your wishes?

It also makes me wonder about the best way ‘to go’. Is it better to have some prior warning, as B has been given, to plan the rest of your days? Or is it preferable to be knocked down (literally, in this case) out of the blue?

I really don’t know. Like most of us I prefer not thinking about it, which is a vote for ‘knocked down out of the blue’ but I’d hate to waste my days obsessing about electricity bills and public transport when, unbeknownst to me, death is waiting just around the corner.

Although if I didn’t obsess about electricity bills and public transport, what WOULD I do? Something more profound? Unlikely. That leads me back to the window scenario.

The second incident occurred 2 nights ago at a restaurant right near my work.

It isn’t yet known what drove this woman to commit suicide. If it was work related (as were the other two suicides from the same restaurant) I struggle to understand that. It must be a highly pressurised set of negative circumstances that leads a person to plunge to the pavement outside Bank station.

Although I work in the city, my job is usually quite pleasant and does not involve the level of pressure that some people deal with in investment banking. I’m not paid the same as an investment banker, either, but in the ‘work life balance’ my scales are weighed favourably towards ‘life’.

Death is all around, all the time, of course. It always has been. I think I’m just more preoccupied with these news items lately. It’s a reminder of how fragile life is, even without a brain tumour.

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12 comments

  1. I can relate to this. Since having had Sam I find myself thinking of my reckless younger self and how grateful I am that I never came to my harm. Ironically, now when I’m more careful than ever with my life i sometimes fear that death might only be moments away. Its sad but unavoidable I guess when so many young fit and healthy people i know have been struck with the big C so unexpectantly.

    1. And yet, the stupidly reckless don’t necessarily come to harm. Pete Doherty is somehow still around. Whether accident or cancer, it’s often just a matter of bad luck.

  2. Dear Jill,
    thank you for your profound thoughts.

    1. Hi Claas – if I wrote that it would sound extremely sarcastic. But I know that’s not your style 😉 I definitely don’t claim to be profound though!

  3. It’s strange how things like that make you think about lining your ducks up in a row, as you say. Just before I went on my worldly travels this year I didn’t have a time to write a will, so I emailed my sister to say what my wishes were. She asked if I was nervous about flying – which I wasn’t, but being in many different places, I didn’t know if I was going to be going about my business and next thing I know I’ve argued with an oncoming car, or whatever.

    I agree with Dr Karl (http://www.abc.net.au/science/drkarl/scienceontriplej/): all I want is a “pleasant” death. When my dad died 6 years ago he had enough time to get his affairs in order, and was only tired. To me, that was a pretty good way to go.

    1. I agree Pete. I also read an article in The Guardian recently about the flip side of long life – lingering on, losing control of your mental faculties and becoming a financial and emotional drain on family. Be careful what you wish for!

      1. Yep – but you never know, you could have all your facalties! Young Fred back in Adelaide is 103* and while he’s slowing down a bit he’s quite independant. The one thing he hates is how they took his drivers license away from him 2 years ago. Still has the occasional pint, still goes to the gym to keep his shoulders moving, his brain still ticks along at an impressive rate. This is from last year: http://au.news.yahoo.com/video/sa/watch/28218166/centenarian-fighting-fit/

  4. megan crawford · · Reply

    I think the fragility of life is one of the reasons we can appreciate it.

  5. You express things so well Jill, I admire you so much for your attitude and outlook on life. The last thing I wanted to do was organise and pay for my funeral so my children didn’t have to go through it at a young age! I am glad it is done and dusted and my eldest is happy that I have done it and even chose the music with me. Having a brain tumour is hard but you still have to live life to the full!

    1. It’s something that everyone should do, really, but most people don’t even have a will – let alone think about their funeral. I want a simple cremation, not a traditional funeral eg. http://www.poppysfunerals.co.uk

  6. Kathleen Ferry · · Reply

    I just wanted to add that all you really know is what will probably end Bs life, not WHEN…..
    could be that you go first. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but its true. I think it is up to each of us to make the most of our days here, none of us knows what lies around the corner.

    1. Hi Kathleen, yes you’re completely right of course – that was the point of my post. You just never know, so best to get on with things and enjoy life.

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