He lay there dying the only way he knew how. Fighting. Grimly and resolutely to the last.
His body, his temple, lay in ruins. Battered by years of graft and heartache, smoking and alcohol. He was finally succumbing to the reality of mortality.
That face, once both jovial and careworn was sunken and aged. Bright blue eyes that had once gleamed with humour, love, jealously, vitriol, passion, empathy and anger were now empty. His dense musculature now emaciated and betrayed by the belly that rose from under the sheets.
Only his bear paw hands remembered their former strength and they gripped mine as a fathers might engulf a scared child’s. They were gnarled and leathery and veined. Every sinew and scar and protuberance on them a story soon to pass into legend.
I was about to lose a mentor, a surrogate father, a teacher, my closest ally and oldest friend.
One of his many proverbs echoed in my ears.
“No man has the promise of tomorrow.”
Then it struck me, as if it had never dawned on me before.
One day, somewhere, somehow, maybe on my choosing, maybe not, this would be me…
It was his final lesson to me from the physical world he still tenuously occupied.
“No Man has the promise of tomorrow.”
The epiphany is obvious to anyone able to grasp the concept of death. But like all things. You only know when you know. When the truth of the matter blasts through your defences like a Mike Tyson uppercut and your mind finally accepts for real the facts it has had before it for so very long. I could see my own mortality reflected in him.
I was going to die, and when I did, all the dreams and wishes, hopes and visions I have would die with me.
Unless I decide to pluck each and every one from my fertile mind, and manifest them into reality.
Why did it take the death of a loved one, one of my Masculine role models, to jolt this realisation into me?
How many people bumble through life thinking ‘one day’ I’ll do this, or that?
One day will never come.
All you have is the present moment, full of infinite possibilities. The future you can imagine, dream and aspire to. But in this life at least, the future is not infinite. Time is the single all encompassing limiting factor for us all.
What dreams do you have that you keep wishing you ‘should’ do?
Why do you procrastinate about doing tasks you ‘should’ have just done?
Imagine if you will, you are there on your death bed. If you are lucky, surrounded by loved ones.
What regrets will you be holding onto? What dreams will die with you?
I am willing to bet, most regrets will be things you didn’t do. Dreams that you never took the time to bring to life.
It is psychologically so much easier to try and fail, or indeed try and succeed, than to suffer the indignation of never even entering the fight.
This man knew it:
Other people who haven't followed their own dreams and visions, love to talk you out of yours. “It won't work, you couldn't do that, maybe you need more experience…”
Even the limbic system of your very own brain will try to protect its animalistic needs, averting you to the perceived safety of your own fabricated comfort zones.
But now you are armed. You have reached into the future and decided the man you want to see lying on your death bed.
Clench your fists, grit your teeth and wade into the fight for what you want. Time is ticking, and no one else will do it for you.