Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.

Life is such a fragile thing.

Within the past few months and years, many friends of mine have been touched by the reality of this saying. The poem I have quoted above was posted on a friend’s Facebook wall just yesterday. It had been read at the funeral of a mother who had died from cancer aged 42. The poem’s beauty struck me as being so very poignant for those left behind by a painfully long list of people who are gone too soon.

There is a legacy left with us by people whose lives are over before their time. This legacy comes in the realisation that life is indeed too short, life is so fragile, and life is there to be lived for as long as you have this precious gift.

I know of a man named Charlie, who died suddenly of a heart attack at the heartbreakingly young age of thirty-five. He was husband to Stormy and father to five beautiful children, the oldest of whom was 13, and the youngest was just a baby. A young family filled with love and kindness who have lost their father. Charlie’s legacy is his family and the love that he left behind. A love that has continued to be demonstrated through the acts of friends of this family. The GoFundMe site was set up a couple of days after his death, in order to help ease the financial hardship that was going to come to this family in the weeks and months after this tragedy. The fund has steadily increased over the past month since Charlie passed away – a testament to the love that surrounds this family and the love that was felt for Charlie himself.

I know of a girl named Rachel, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 19. She passed away only a week ago after a short but brave fight. Her family and friends treasure every second of the precious nineteen years they had with this beautiful young lady. Rachel’s legacy lies in the brave way she fought, and the determination of her family and friends to continue to fight in her name against this aggressive and destructive illness. The Rachel Appolinari Memorial Fund has been set up to raise money for the Edinburgh Centre for Neuro-Oncology at Western General Hospital, where Rachel received care during her illness. Helping others in Rachel’s name:

I know of a man named John. He was my cousin. Last year he was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, which eventually took him from us at the age of 34. He had been married to his lovely wife, Amanda, for a short but wonderful two and a half years. A charming, funny, down-to-earth guy, I don’t think John ever met anyone who didn’t get on with him. He lived his life well, and seized every moment he could. We all miss him hugely. John’s legacy is one of love for his family and his friends, and of their love for him. His dignity and bravery in the way he dealt with the difficulties and challenges that came to him is an inspiration to me. John’s story has had a particular effect on my own outlook on life. I am so very aware that life is really too short to waste time and not grab hold of every opportunity you can. I take chances and seize moments and I am determined to have no regrets whether I am here for 30 years or ninety.

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Life. It’s beautiful, fragile, precious, and there to be lived.

In memory of John, Charlie, Rachel, and the many others who are gone too soon. 

One thought on “Fragile

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