Friday’s funeral for Robbie Retrot had a profound effect on many of us. One thing is certain about life: if you are born into this life (the Sunrise of Life), death (after the Sunset of Life) will follow. Hopefully, for many of us, it will be after a long exciting and rewarding life (the Day of Life). But we will all face death many times with the death of our parents, partners, children (hopefully not), and friends. When this occurs, there will be a feeling of great loss. But does it have to be this way?
Live Life to the Full
In the case of Robbie Retrot, I still remember him when Judith introduced him to us as her new partner. He had been retired for several years, and as I remembered him then and compared him to the person I had known in the last couple of years, there was a profound difference. Robbie was much more active in the brain by doing more in life. By getting together with Judith, he started a new phase of his life; he was a different person. A lesson to learn.
If one has lived life to the full, then there are no regrets when the time does come. But it is important not to give up on life just because you have reached a certain age. In my case, I remember; Business was always my focus in life. But in 2012, when business life ended. I was left miserable because I had lost my purpose in life and felt I had no value as a person. Worst still, where were my friends? There were not any. I moved from Sydney to the farms at Kyogle, then to Brisbane and then sold the farms. Life to me felt at that stage as being a downhill ride until you died. Fortunately, I had a fantastic partner, and life started to take on a new meaning with her support.
I started playing tennis badly due to my 50 years of sojourn from the game, but I improved with the support of other tennis members and many match plays. But I saw how being active and having the camaraderie of newfound friends, life felt so different. Then I had the vision that this tennis group could be so much more, and what it had done for me could do for many other people. So, the concept of the Active Aging Hub started.
Life Goes On
To achieve the most from life, you must be aware that life is not over, and no matter your age, there is life to be lived; it is not behind you, but it is still in front of you. Old age is not easy, as the body is not what it used to be. But with all the aches and pains you may have, the best thing is not to sit or lie down but keep moving. Take the effort to phone your friends or go for a coffee and have a good dose of laughs. Your day will seem so much brighter. Get involved with activities and social events, making you feel more alive. You must be in the state of mind of wanting to give things a go, whether it be new activities or social events; without them, your life will become mundane. You will be surprised at how your outlook on life will change.
Stage of Life is the Setting of the Sun
I suppose we could say that when you are born, that is like the Sunrise in the morning. A whole new day (life) ahead of us. Likewise, if you have reached an older age, it is more like being compared to the Sun Set of Life. But you know, Sun Sets can be so beautiful if you take your time to observe and share a beautiful time with a partner or friend. All it takes is to walk out of the house, away from the TV and look up at the sky. Better still, with a glass of wine or a margarita, or let your mind race ahead, why not check it out on a Greek Island or some other destination you like? Make the moments special, and guess what? There is a Sunset every day. It is up to you to enjoy.
Overcoming the Loss
It is not easy as the person you have lost was incredibly significant in your life or was very influential in your life. But you will be distraught if you focus on the loss, not their life. But if you look at them from the memory of all your good times, you immediately smile. The person is no longer dead; he/she is alive within you. As Judith mentioned in her speech on Friday, she could feel Robbie’s presence was still within her. He lives on and would tell us all, Live Life and enjoy every moment.
I believe that if I died tomorrow, I could accept it without any complaint because I have lived life to the full, done so many things, accomplished my dreams and had a partnership with my wife that forever grows and is so enjoyable no matter what age I am. Since 2012, when I had so few friendships, today I have gained so many more from our activities and social events. And if my time comes to an end, I would only hope that those friends I have made on the Tennis Court, Dance Floor, Pickleball Court, on the Walks or at our Social Events would give a thought of me and smile, not sad about my death, but cherish those fun times we had remembering those outlandish statements made and keep the fun going.
We will be holding an event in the next couple of weeks. Still, instead of calling these events a Wake, we will refer to them as Celebrations of Life, thinking of Robbie and continuing to enjoy the companionship of friends we have created. So, if you do not know Robbie, you are welcome to help us celebrate life.