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Monday Moment: Life is Precious

Emma Grey

On Saturday night, my sister and I saw the movie ‘Still Alice’. It’s based on the heart-wrenching book about early-onset Alzheimers, by neuroscientist and novelist, Lisa Genova.

I took three packets of tissues. Mum has dementia. Not early-onset—so the timing is different (and easier to bear for our family) but the symptoms are just as brutal, and the end will be the same.

Surprisingly, we didn’t need the tissues. The movie depicted a flawed, beautiful family, coming together to make life even more meaningful during the gradual losing of their loved one from the inside out. It reminded us just how much the everyday, simple moments count. How ‘living in the present’ is all we ever really have—memories come and go, the future is uncertain. Connection and love right now is what counts the most.

That’s something our family has in spades. Dementia can be life-affirming in its own twisted way… and the weekend went on to serve two more reminders that there is light and dark amidst some of the most difficult things we ever face.

On a walk around the lake yesterday, we noticed a large crowd of people gathered. They had balloons and kids and dogs and participants all ages. We found they were walking to raise funds for a twenty-year-old who had recently had a heart attack. The mood of the group was uplifted. They came together for a purpose—to meet a common goal in the face of a crisis. As people do.

Then, driving home, we became pleasantly entangled in the truck convoy for cancer. I was reminded that we’d met it along the same stretch of road a year ago. I remember feeling moved to tears then, seeing so many truck-drivers involved in the fundraiser, and so many people lining the streets to cheer them on.

Little had we known last February that one of our dearest young people would this year have the honour of riding in the lead truck, having been put through the wringer of leukaemia. Most of the time, we go about our lives blissfully unaware of what lies ahead.

Is it scary, thinking something like this could sideswipe any of us, at any time? Is it tempting to bubble-wrap our lives and spend our time avoiding risk and staying safe?

Of course it is…

But the more precarious life is, the more precious it becomes. And the more precious it becomes, the wider our grasp ought to be on it. The more of it we must gather in and experience. The more open our eyes should be. The warmer our hearts… the more we should unfold and create and breathe in, while we still can.

Let’s not allow fear to win. Let’s not agonise over what might—or even what will—happen.

Let’s value the joy in our everyday interactions. Let’s forgive ourselves more easily. Let’s let go of what brings us down and let’s band together, the way people always do when something bad happens.

Because if life isn’t about today’s conversations, even if they’re forgotten tomorrow, what is it about?

If it’s not about the risks we take now, in case we can’t later, then what are we doing with our time?

It’s closest to the edge, where our footing is a little shaky, that we have the best view. That’s where we’re most exhilarated. It’s where we love the deepest and make our greatest mark on the world.

I don’t know about you but, from where I’m standing, there’s not a moment to waste.

Giveaway: Win a double pass to Still Alice

Thanks to Icon Film Distribution, we’re giving away five double passes to see Still Alice at Dendy Canberra. For your chance to win email [email protected] with your details and the answer to this question: Julianne Moore stars alongside which Baldwin brother? 

Competition closes midnight Thursday 5 February. Winners will be notified by email and tickets must be collected in person from the HerCanberra Headquarters in New Acton.


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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