Life Goes On

Four people died in our community this week. All of cancer. Four families with friends all going through intense grief and pain. But, “life goes on” as someone said. black-23923_640

Excitement over the local rugby team winning the Currie Cup was the subject of much animated discussion;  a fund raising fete attracted people with all its delights and wares; Birthday celebrations in a steakhouse drew smiles and quizzical looks from lively customers eating away and conversing, and shoppers went about their shopping with eager intent; but four people had just died!

Of course “life goes on.” How can everyone know, and if they did, would everything have come to a standstill? But lets face it, there’s a touch of harshness in that phrase, a little streak of indifference, that’s why I choose to use it sparingly and very carefully.

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in inspiration, Life, Poetic Imagination, Relationships, Spirituality, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Life Goes On

  1. darrelhoff says:

    This is very true. We so casually say too many phrases. But I also believe we put too much “emphasis” on events.
    Because life does go on…
    I remember looking forward to my Cape Town trip. Now it’s over…
    life has gone on. (but then again that may be a negative point of view.)
    Sorry I think I am rambling. 🙂

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  2. Don says:

    We do Darren – you’re right. Perhaps one of the secrets is to be far more mindful of our surroundings as we walk through life. Thank you for your comment.

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  3. You are right, lives do go on but for those who have lost someone, their lives come to a standstill that takes so much time to recover from. Both my Dad and my Uncle said they never ‘got over’ losing their wives of many, many years though their lives continued and they continued to take an interest in the life all around them.
    It is an easy expression but I think it is mostly used by those who have yet to lose someone significant in their lives.
    My condolences to all those in your community who are sad and bereaved; may they pick up the strings of their lives and be supported by all those who love them.

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    • Don says:

      Yes Sally, it is an easy expression so glibly put at times. Your second paragraph says it for me and your comment about your Dad and Uncle is the experience of so many. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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  4. Indeed, life goes on. Haltingly. With small steps. With a bit of anger. And with much sadness. Life goes on.
    The thing about death is it is so very final. No more daily conversations about favorite TV shows. No more homemade coconut pies. No more hugs. No more being someone’s favorite person. Life goes on, but the question is often: Can we go on? Will we go on?
    Hopefully, we do.
    I am so sorry for the loss of your friends. All at once. Tragic.

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  5. Don says:

    Thanks Sheila. Your comment is a very moving one and I think your words, “Haltingly. With small steps” are so appropriate.

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  6. nrhatch says:

    Interesting post, Don. Sorry about the loss in your life. Your words and the comment thread got me thinking about my dad’s death last year and how much I love the expression “Life goes on.”

    I don’t find it glib at all. Or a measure of indifference. And I don’t think it’s used only by those who haven’t lost someone near and dear to them ~ who would that be, anyway? The tighter we hang on to the sorrows of life, the longer we hang on to the heart-ache.

    The expression reminds me that it’s OK to laugh every day . . . even if someone we love has just died. “Life goes on” reminds me to allow JOY to resurface sooner rather than later.

    Life is not about stopping the rain from falling, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. And anything that works for us, works. Even if others prefer to wear their grief like a perpetual black cloak to block out the sun.

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    • Don says:

      Nancy, it’s more of a community loss than my personal loss. However they are people that I’ve known for quite some time. Really enjoy your opposing view. That’s how I’ve come to know you. You speak your mind and I love that. I think for me there are two extremes, “wearing grief like a perpetual black cloak to block out the sun” and then ” laughing even if someone we love has died.” They are far too extreme for me. I think the letting go is an extremely sensitive personal process. Some are able to do it at a pace far slower than others, some a little quicker, It’s a struggle unique to the individual. But, however it happens it is intensely traumatic, and I think there are glib little statements that people make that can be extremely hurtful, especially when they are uttered without taking in to consideration where those people are in their grief.- “life must go on” being one of them. I agree, life needs to go on, but deep care needs to be taken when expressing such sentiments. Maybe I’m just over sensitive, Nancy.

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      • nrhatch says:

        I’ve given this more thought, Don. Even though I use “life goes on” as a personal mantra, I don’t think I’ve ever expressed it to others when they’ve had a loss.

        I say it to MYSELF, not out loud to others.

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      • Don says:

        I’ve never imagined that you would do so, Nancy (express it to others in their loss, that is) There’s something wonderfully refreshing about you. I just so admire your chutzpah. Life goes on. 🙂

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      • nrhatch says:

        Thanks, Don! I suppose I do have a fair share of chutzpah.
        And I’m feisty too! 😉

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  7. Don’t you think that those who casually proclaim “Life goes on,” probably haven’t yet faced the dark, heartbreaking and halting aspects of life? I’m truly sorry for the four families and their friends in your community, Don.
    Life will go on for them, but the pace will be slower, more lonely and painful for awhile, and during that time I hope they don’t hear that phrase.

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    • Don says:

      Thank you Marylin. Appreciate your kind words. I have expressed similar sentiments in my response to Nancy. I think the key in what you say is the whole aspect of pace, and sometimes that little phrase doesn’t take cognizance of that.

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  8. theINFP says:

    I acknowledge and agree with the comments above. I don’t think ‘life goes on’ is at all negative, for me it is a reminder that we only have one life and we should make the most of it. Robert

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Robert. Appreciate your response. I think it is only negative when it is forced on to people when they are not ready to move own as yet. I liked Sheila’s description of moving on as being, “Haltingly. With small steps.” I think it’s being sensitive to that.

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  9. It’s a strange place to be; the vortex of grief after the loss of a loved one or someone we know. Even while in that head and heart space the world keeps breathing around us. There is a fine balance between having a lack of compassion over death and still living Life directly after. The balance is different for each of us. Although never a place any of us want to experience it is part of the ebb and flow of Life. Interesting topic to touch on, Don.

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    • Don says:

      I think you hit the nail right on the head Melissa when you say,”There is a fine balance between having a lack of compassion over death and still living Life directly after. The balance is different for each of us.” I feel that way as well.

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  10. sefeniak says:

    Being a cancer survivor myself, my thoughts on this subject are that life is too short. We all need to live it to the fullest each and everyday.
    Yes, “life goes on”. I for one hope it does for a very long time. The use of that phrase should not mean we are brushing away the memory of a person that has died.

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  11. Don says:

    “The use of that phrase should not mean we are brushing away the memory of a person that has died” – or simply brushing away our grief, Susan, you obviously speak out of a depth of experience. Thank you for sharing.. What courage and strength you must have as a survivor.May life go on and be a joy for you, as I’m sure it is.

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  12. katy says:

    A pat on the back Don for bringing up such a sensitive subject. Judging by the posts there is no öne size fits all”, but your reply to Nancy hits the nail
    firmly on the head for me. Grief is intensely personal and maybe in our
    fast paced world we don,t give folk the luxury of time to be sad and wear
    “a bla ck cloak of mourning” Life goes on is one of those trite phrases best left unsaid.

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    • Don says:

      Thank you Katy. Yes, I really like what you say. That little phrase ,”life goes on” is often said in the context of the fast paced world you’ve described. It’s a kind of “okay that’s enough” you’ve really got to get on with life now The context dictates not the person’s natural inner coping with grief. I’m not sure about this but I believe that in the Jewish community, when in a state of grief, you are given a year where nothing is expected of you and where you are expected to slowly work through your grief, and then re-engage earnestly with life again. I like that. Perhaps some Jewish friends can help us with that. Again, thanks for your comment, Katy.

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  13. lyn viljoen says:

    Don you know how our lives have had to go on. But the memories are bitter sweet. Mornei would have been 40 on Saturday. Sadly at our bowling club we have lost 15 since September last year, mostly of cancer. Somertimes feel it’s not a good place to hang out. Thanks for your thoughts, they meaningful to me.

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    • Don says:

      Lyn, I don’t know how you and Chris have done it. Losing one child is indescribable, but two goes beyond what we can cope with. Your courage in the way you have both dealt with it has been such an enormous inspiration to us all in this community. Thank you for dropping by and sharing. May I say that the memory of Mornei has burnt itself in to my heart and I remember him with deep fondness.

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  14. katy says:

    Don, I checked on “Coping with grief”on the Jewish website. I felt it was too rigid . How can you say to someone in the grip of intense grief – “You
    can mourn for a certain period of time then its business as normal” I always
    feel heart sick for folks, usually wives and moms who are left in dire straits
    financially and have to put their pain aside and “smile though your heart is breaking”. and go out into the workplace. It sounds dramatic but this is the
    reality for many folk.

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    • Don says:

      That’s interesting Katy. Thanks for doing that. I must say that I quite like the concept. At least you are given a full year of space. But as you say, some just don’t get any chance.

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  15. Life does go on…… but what is life really? Is it our awareness of an individual’s moments or is it the orchestration of the moments of all folks around us?

    Shakti

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  16. ladyfi says:

    It’s easy to be glib… sometimes I think saying Life goes on is as much to comfort oneself perhaps?

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  17. Dina says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friends.
    Big hug!
    Dina x

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  18. Shweta says:

    I so agree with your friend Shiela here. Life goes on but haltingly and very slowly. I lost my younger sister when I was in school and till date I see her in my dreams sometimes.I have grown up but I see her the same as she left us last. Life halts for my family for a moment when we talk about her, remember her.Then it moves on taking those small steps too.

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    • Don says:

      Shweta I can’t imagine how painful that experience must have been for you and your family and what you still all feel. Small steps and haltingly. I’m sure you know all about that. Thank you for sharing this experience in your life and may you and your family continue to find strength.

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  19. Pingback: Life and Death & Cyber Shadows | Spirit Lights The Way

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