Dr Seuss said “Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”.
In an interview on ABC24 recently Robert Dessau, an Australian author, spoke of his joy on discovering that so many of his friends now in their seventies and older are very happy with their lives, content to enjoy good friendship, easy dinners with no fuss, and the importance he has found in enjoying each day as it is offered him.
Robert has suffered from HIV for the past 20 years, and his relief at finding himself not only alive but well enough to appreciate each day is such a ‘blessing’, a term he used not lightly, particularly as he is an avowed atheist.
Recently I had three experiences, all on one day, which reminded me once again of how quickly life gallops past us, and to savour every moment while we can.
If that sounds a little too profound so be it, but all of us, whatever age, need to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to live in Australia, this safe and beautiful country.
I celebrate that every day.
It was a strange day that Thursday, beginning with entering a small cafe in Merricks on Western Port Bay only to sight my bridesmaid of 53 years ago lunching with friends.
We only meet once a year now, and I know for both of us such a meeting recalls memories of school days in a boarding school, flatting together in Melbourne, old boyfriends long since disappeared into the ether, our weddings, shared weekends with our families in the country when our children were young. On and on we could go!
Later that same day a young woman called in to my hostess.
During a casual general conversation, she mentioned she had grown up in a country town where I also grew up.
Further discussion and I realised that her grandfather and my father had been the very best of friends, playing golf and fishing together for years until my dad died, relatively young.
This triggered a host of memories. I was back in that country town as though it was yesterday.
She was quickly on the mobile ringing her dad to let him know she had met Jack’s daughter. Her dad remembered my father. This young woman’s grandfather was lucky enough to live to see grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
My last reminder of the fleeting years was with another visitor to my hostess who had attended school with my beautiful friend Helen.
Helen died of multiple sclerosis much too young at age 33. Helen‘s illness was rapid and debilitating.
With her marriage having already collapsed, unable to physically care for her two children, she made the unimaginable decision to suicide, so that her children would have a secure future with their father. Some people have asserted she was selfish in making such a decision. I respected her brave choice in the face of a devastating illness which would have led to an early painful death. We talked long into the evening about our shared friendship with Helen.
We relived those youthful days we both shared with Helen at different times, mine as a university student and housemate, hers as a school friend. We both still think of her.
I value those memories so much now. They are part of what I am and what all my friends are to me.
One day, unexpected reunions, and so many reminders of life thus far!