As I said in my last blog I turned 65 last week, on Sunday I attended a memorial service for a friend who will not. He was just 42 and one of the most vibrant people on the planet. He was a DJ, an environmentalist, a teacher and a beautiful man. He was taken by the big C, a condition that does not listen to reason.
In the weeks before his passing rumours spread of him passing and people began to write eulogies. He had not, so I began listening to his MixCloud sets. I was listening to one of these when posts began appearing from his nearest and dearest that he had actually passed. At this moment I received a download from him. It was just four words: Get On With It. You cannot assume you will be here to fulfil your passions and dreams next year, Get on with It.
Today an article from my friends Marc and Angel Chernoff titled 25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself came through my news feed, I thought they were relevant:
- Never stop stretching and improving yourself.
- Never stop listening to your own inner voice.
- Never stop walking comfortably in your own shoes.
- Never stop working through your fears.
- Never stop being a little unrealistic.
- Never stop doing what needs to be done.
- Never stop embracing your struggles.
- Never stop being willing to make mistakes.
- Never stop getting back up.
- Never stop making the best of it.
- Never stop ignoring the naysayers.
- Never stop taking small steps forward.
- Never stop giving yourself a chance to soar to new heights.
- Never stop smiling.
- Never stop thinking positive.
- Never stop laughing at yourself and your life situations.
- Never stop appreciating the life you’re living right now.
- Never stop indulging in life’s little daily joys.
- Never stop spreading your kindness.
- Never stop giving what you can.
- Never stop giving your important relationships a fair chance.
- Never stop doing little things for your own happiness.
- Never stop opening your mind to new perspectives.
- Never stop evolving.
- Never stop writing your own story, your own way.
My friend did most of these, especially number 21, never stop giving your important relationships a chance. So how does society give friendships a chance, here are a selection of that is said about them:
- Several hundred people attended the memorial for my friend. quite a few travelled from interstate, I think this supports the above statement.
2. Through a lengthy friendship, all these and more situations arise: Black Coffee.
3. When the physical sails off, we have the memories in our heart.
4. As you get older and they pull down the structures of your past, it is the people that you remember who were there with you: That’s What Friends Are For.
5. I met one of my dearest friends pretending to be a tree at a party in a flat in Carlton in the ’70s when we swayed into each other too vigorously.
6. The people who you can sit with next to a river for hours and not a word needs to be spoken, Fuck Yes: Down by the River.
7. They’re the ones wearing the I’m with them tee shirts.
8. Ama Ata Aidoo, née Christina Ama Aidoo (born 23 March 1942) is a Ghanaian author, poet, playwright and academic. She was the Minister of Education under the Jerry Rawlings administration. In 2000, she established the Mbaasem Foundation to promote and support the work of African women writers because she realised it was important that all people received an education, not just the elite, She has portrayed the role of African women in contemporary society. She has opined that the idea of nationalism has been deployed by recent leaders as a means of keeping people oppressed. She has criticized those literate Africans who profess to love their country but are seduced away by the benefits of the developed world. She believes in a distinctly African identity, which she views from a female perspective: I am Woman.
9. I think we are best at this as children.
10. What does the F stand for: It Ain’t What You Do.
11. There are 51 meanings for the acronym BFF, this could be for two of them: Best Friends Forever or Best Fan Forever.
12. My friend was so good at this. Written in the 1930s or 1940s, still so relevant today: Humble and Kind.
13. Until they are not if you have the thought I wonder how they are, time to reach out.
14. From her Matched Trilogy of teenage novels comes this beautiful quote by author Ally Condie: Tangled Up In You.
15. And we finish our lesson for today with the eating of buns.
We ended the ceremony with a drumming ceremony in a circle, as it lifted in energy, I could imagine our friend saying fuck this, and jumping into the middle and dancing his heart out. Farewell from the physical world, our dear friend, the eternal will hold you well as will our hearts.
The playlist for today is not really representative of the music our friend loved, but maybe it is as he loved all music. It begins with All Saints. Then drops back a century to Dionne Warwick, a long guitar solo by Neil Young, Helen Reddy and Bananarama. The penultimate track goes country by Tim Mcgraw as does the final number from Aaron Lewis: Someone Asked If I Knew You.
It took me two days to write this, it normally takes two hours. My friend lived Love and Respect for All, Everyone Included. We will miss you, dear friend.
Until we meet again my dear friends, I love you.