If I should die now, know this
If I should die now might give the impression that this blog post is going to be pretty morbid, but it’s not going to be about death, but rather about life.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Maybe it’s something to do with turning 40 recently that’s making me take a step back and look at life in general, and my life in particular.
One of the reasons I write this blog in general is so that if anything were to happen to me my girls would have a big part of me after I’m gone. Léna is 9 now and Clémence is 3, which is far too young to actually remember much if something were to happen to me, and I like the idea of them being able to read this blog and know me.
My paternal grandfather fought during World War II and in 1944 he was away from home when my uncle turned 2 years old. As a conscious objector who had felt compelled to fight for his country against such an extreme enemy as Hitler and nazism, he felt the need to explain his actions to his son.
So he wrote a very long letter (an exercise book full) to my uncle on his 2nd birthday, explaining the state of the world, why he was fighting and his love for my grandmother and my two uncles, in case something happened to him.
Pretty much everyone in my family has a copy of this letter and I get it out every now and then to look at it. I love that he wrote this letter. I love the insight into who my Grandpa was as a younger man, especially as he died when I was just 8.
Whilst my blog is nowhere near as well-written as his letter (he was a school head teacher and very good with words) I like to think that my girls will come back and read about our lives together when they were little, whether I am still around or not. But especially if I’m not around.
As I get older I realise that there are more and more people of my generation who are no longer with us – taken too early due to fatal accidents and illness. Which makes you realise just how important it is to tell people “stuff” now.
My grandma was very sadly killed in a car crash when I was 21 years old. Up until that point I’d kind of coasted through life, believing I was immortal, would live forever, and could put things off to a later date.
Her death was such a huge wake-up call that life was incredibly fragile. And more or less from that point on I had this idea in the back of my mind:
“This could be it – you might not get tomorrow.”
This probably explains some of the decisions I’ve made and the risks I’ve taken.
Friends often ask me how Ben and I find the courage to do half the things we do – moving into the unknown, giving up well-paid jobs, taking our kids out of the schools they know and love – but we have a fear which is bigger than what could happen if we do all these things.
Our big fear is, what happens if we don’t do them?
We have done some “crazy” things in the past, and despite some of them not working out we have no regrets. We both agree that we would have far regretted not trying the new business, the new country, the different whatever it might be.
I love this quote from Marie Forleo:
“I win or I learn. I don’t lose.”
This is so true for everything I’ve done in my life. I might not have always won, but I’ve learnt so much which meant I won the next time.
So what do you need to know if I were to die now?
Know that I lived life to the full every second, every minute of every day.
I was never wishing I was somewhere else.
I was never wishing I was someone else or with someone else.
I experienced the most incredible love that I really believe doesn’t happen to everyone. Ben is truly my soulmate, my best friend and so much more. We’ve been together since December 2001 and married since August 2003, and he is still the last person I want to see before I fall asleep and the first person I want to see when I wake up. He makes me laugh and we can talk and talk and talk, about anything and everything, from the stupidly funny to the very serious.
(Don’t get me wrong, we also argue like crazy which clears the air and then we carry on as before.)
I had the incredible experience of creating two perfect little humans (well mostly perfect). Léna and Clémence, along with Ben, are my life, my world, my everything. They make me laugh, they make my heart burst out of my chest with love, they make me proud, they give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside just when I see them.
Again they also drive me demented at times, and we have our fair share of arguments, but I wouldn’t change that or them for the world.
40 years ago I was born the 3rd child (and 3rd daughter) to an average middle class couple who were heading towards their 30s. These two people taught me more than can ever be written down (welling up a bit now as I try and put this into words). They showed me unconditional love. Through their love for each other they taught me about the kind of marriage I wanted to have. They taught me to stand on my own two legs. They taught me to be strong and to believe in myself. They often made life hard for me but this made me fight harder for what I wanted. They taught me I could be anything I chose to be. They taught me that I could live anywhere in the world and they would still love me unconditionally, and that I would thrive there. My life would have been so incredibly different and far worse if they hadn’t been my parents.
My parents were so taken with this wonderful 3rd child that they went on to have two more (boys this time) 🙂 Growing up the middle child of 5 kids has definitely shaped the person I have become – you can’t be a shrinking wallflower when trying to get heard in a large family….well that’s my excuse for being so noisy anyway! I have fab siblings (who are not necessarily fans of being written about online!) and incredible cousins, aunts and uncles – with a shout-out to my “baby” cousin who lived with us for over a year, and who will always have a special place in our family’s heart 🙂
And what about friends? I have had friends in 4 different countries and from so many more different countries. I have had online friends who know me more than my real life friends. I have had toxic friends that I have now kicked to the curb. I have had incredible friends who I would do anything for and who have done so much for me at various different times.
I have had some horrific jobs (cleaning puke from toilets in a bar at 2am for £2/hour anyone?), but when it was time to move on I did just that each time. I didn’t wait for someone to say “this is what you should be doing”. I took the plunge. Sometimes it worked out. Sometimes it didn’t.
I don’t get embarrassed easily. I’ll walk into a party, bar, networking event where I don’t know anyone and introduce myself. (In fact I met Ben when I introduced myself to him in a bar in Nice!)
I’m not embarrassed about my choice of music – I am not trendy, I like cheesy music, 1970s disco, old school Madonna, the cheesier the better 🙂
I am who I am. I don’t wear “fashionable” clothes and I don’t listen to “fashionable” music. I wear and listen to what I like, and I’m happy with that.
I have no wasted time where I regret things. This doesn’t mean I’m always on or always busy. It means I carve out downtime when I can curl up with a good book or, more recently, play some piano. This is still me living life. Doing what I want to do and being happy.
So it’s my funeral. What do you say about me?
You say that I lived life to its fullest, wringing every drop out of it possible. That I was happy for the vast majority of the time, with a very strong tendance to looking on the bright side of everything. That I lived with absolutely zero regrets. And that I encourage all of you to do the same. And finally you say thank you to everyone who has been in my life, as Dora says “I couldn’t have done it without you!”
Now go out and live that beautiful life that’s been given to you!
P.S. give me the cheapest funeral every – a cheap wood box, one bunch of flowers, cremate me and then have a big party, playing cheesy music, dancing, eating, drinking and celebrating LIFE. And no wearing black either 😛
I’m going to run a free webinar soon and it will be for you if any of the following applies to you:
- you struggle to make decisions
- you’re afraid of change
- you don’t know which risks to take and which to avoid
- you have fears around all of this (fear of making the wrong decision, fear of change, fear of other people’s opinions of the decisions you make, fear of failure etc).
A little bit of background for those who don’t know me…
10 years ago I had just moved into my forever home, which we’d seen go from architect’s plans to our family home, I was pregnant with my first child, and in a good, well-paid job. In the last decade we have sold the forever home, moved country twice (including to one where we know no one and have never visited, in Africa), I have given up two good, well-paid jobs to set up on my own and known failure and success.
I get emails from you, my lovely readers, every day asking me how I / we made those decisions, and asking for advice. So I thought I’d share how I’ve done it, the thought processes I go through and more. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in please drop me a line with your time zone and what time/day would suit you: FranglaiseMummy@gmail.com
This was exactly what I needed to read right now. I’ve been living in a place (Normandy) that has never become ‘home’ for 5 years now, and have felt the whole time that I would be better off somewhere else. I had never felt like that before coming here, and I’ve tried to ignore those feelings because I moved here to be with my husband, and close to his family. We are at a point now where my husband has no job and few interesting prospects here in Normandy, and although I’ve built up a good business here as a reflexologist, I feel like it’s now or never if we want to make a happy life back in the South of France. Yes, like you, I met my man in the South of France, but after leaving for Normandy (for love more precisely) I’ve never been able to put that life behind me. We have a four year old daughter now, and as I’m not so adventurous as you are, it feels quite huge to imagine packing up and moving everything to begin a new life. Still, what you said about having no regrets struck a cord. If I take the time to imagine how I will feel if I’m still in this sleepy village under the grey clouds when I’m 40 or 50, then I’m pretty sure I’ll regret still being here and not having had the courage to move on. So thank you, you have made me think, and I’m getting closer and closer to the idea that we CAN move, and things WILL work out for us. We just need to be a bit braver and go for it!
I’m so glad this blog post made you think Jane. If it helps at all I’ve got a webinar coming up in April on decision-making and facing your fears, maybe that would help you? Send me an email to find out more about it: FranglaiseMummy@gmail.com
I loved this Sophie! That quote sums it up, ‘I win or I learn’ is really a great thought when moving through life with courage!
Thanks Angie – I totally love that quote too! I’m adopting it as my motto now 🙂