The moment that defines us...
I greet death differently now.
I suppose it was my sister's doing; that witching hour phone call, the lonely trip to the hospital and a quiet goodbye to who she used to be. I collected up her things and then in the silence of a new dawn walked back to the car... a forlorn scene as I balanced a vase and bamboo stalk along with her other possessions; the metaphor for the last seven months of her life. She was cremated five days later and her final resting place is an urn in the shape of a birth bath because she didn't want to be buried in the cold ground - She wanted to stay among the living.
As a matter of course, the following days and weeks involved the contemplation of death; not a macabre examination of death itself but more a pursuit to understand life. There was the predictable reflection that life needs to be lived, all the while embracing trite words like "zest, gusto, bucket and list". In the end though, there was just the resignation to the inevitability of death and that our lives were then defined - Nothing more "can be written" that defines who we are, and what we have done.
I looked at the caller ID on my phone and was deeply saddened as I knew what would greet me when I answered; my long time friend Paul Sipprell had died after his long battle with cancer. His life's defining moment had come.
Paul was a loving husband and father of two beautiful daughters, an accomplished graphic illustrator and artist who befriended everyone he met with humour, kindness and generosity. Avidly pursuing his outdoor passions until his mind could not convince his body anymore, Paul personified the grand appetite for life, adventure, friendship, bravery and the appreciation for a life lived - A life well defined by any measure.
I will miss my friend deeply and cannot help but consider what my defining moment will ultimately look like.
Rest in Peace Paul.