Life, Death and Spirituality

Month: June, 2015


I learned so many things from Rowan when he was here with us, but I have learned so much more from him since he passed.  I continue to be taught by him – something that amazes me every day.

When he was here; an everyday influence on my life, he taught me to remember and enjoy the simple things and not to take them for granted.  He got excited about food.  He rushed and grabbed the camera to capture the image of a meal that he knew, without a doubt, he was going to enjoy.  He would scamper around the supermarket with an enthusiasm which was a delight to see.  To him, a visit to the supermarket wasn’t pure drudgery; an evil, expensive necessity.  It was a pleasurable, exhilarating outing – one that held great promise of treats and taste explosions and chocolate milkshakes!  He never outgrew that excitement.

If you went out with Rowie for the day, you would never get the sulks and the grumps that happen with so many children.  He would find things to laugh at wherever we went; exuberant laughter, but not cruel or derisive laughter.  He was persistent.  If he felt you weren’t enjoying the experience as you should, he would redouble his efforts to make you happy.  You couldn’t stay miserable with him around – he had a certain knack of bringing the inner child out in everyone.  Eight years between Francis and Rowan could have been a chasm – it wasn’t.  Rowie managed Francis with an expertise greater than his years!  His older brother was putty in his fingers.  He could always get a smile from him.  He could turn the worst mood into mirth.  We were meant to dance to music – according to Rowie anyway!  He was forever bursting into action; arms flying, legs moving in an awesome parody of some character he had seen on television.  He captured the essence, eccentricity, with perfect comedic timing.

I think what I am trying to say is that we all need to take responsibility for our own happiness.  Rowan grabbed at enjoyment in whatever he did (apart from cricket).  He turned the most mundane day into an extraordinary one.

He started his day with a 10 minute shower, no more, no less.  It was only after he died that we found his “shower music” on his IPad!  Exactly 10 minutes of lively, rhythmic music simply entitled – “Rowan’s Shower Music”.  I wondered how he timed his morning ablutions!  I wondered why the IPad accompanied him to the bathroom every morning!  What a way to start the day though – singing and dancing your way through the first minutes of your day increases your vibration ten-fold – can’t help but have a doozy of a day following that!

Rowan did everything wholeheartedly (except for the possible exception of school work………)!

He enjoyed people.  He loved meeting new people and was expert at making people feel comfortable in his company.  His ex-boss described him to me the other day as having a “charisma” unusual in someone so young.  His happiness was totally self-inflicted!  Maybe he knew that he wasn’t going to be here for the long-haul so maybe he thought  that he would pack as much fun and happiness into his short life as he possibly could?

I had no real direction before Rowan died.  After I moved to Owaka, I worked short-term contracts because I didn’t really want to commit to anything long-term.  I had no real passion about anything I did.  I had lost the passion that gets you up in the morning.   For the first time in a very long time I didn’t really enjoy working at all!  The fun of it had kind of tarnished.  Rowan taught me passion again.  He indirectly taught me my life purpose.  He made available to me ways to offer comfort to other people.  He has introduced me to people with like-minds who have amazing stories of their own to tell.

The days when I lumber out of bed, complaining about the cold, complaining about the aches and pains, grumbling at the cats for leaving something squishy for me to tread in – these are the days when what follows can only be described as total train-wreck misery!  They get progressively worse as the hours pass; they compound my unhappiness and I suffer for the whole of the day.

The days when I hop out of bed with an eager anticipation and a smile on my face; those days are the ones that hold magic and serendipitous meetings and phenomena that are wonder-full!  These are the days that I take responsibility – I own them!  I consciously make the choice to be happy.  These are the days when I set myself up for fun, laughter, joy, pleasure.  Well here’s a thought – I might even borrow the IPad and make a ten minute “Sue’s Shower Music”……………….



The excitement of finding out you are going to become parents is absolutely amazing.  I remember the thrill of sharing my body with a wee soul as it prepared to launch itself on the world!  I never stopped to think about the true importance of children being born onto this planet and their influence in its welfare.

I, as most parents, looked on my new-borns as beings that came to us knowing nothing at all – barren ground ready for us to sow the seeds and grow them.   When I now think about these wee souls, I realise that they come to us knowing the most important life lesson that there is; that of love.  The only needs that babies/children require of us are love and sustenance.

When a child comes to us, how many times a day do we tell them, “Not now!”, or “Shhhh, in a minute”, or “Come back later” because you are busy right now.  There are only so many times you can say these things to a child before it begins to question its worth and before it stops asking questions and for reassurance and love from us.  So many children are unheard, feel unloved, and feel insecure.  If we were to take more time with them, we would see a different type of human evolve – one that is wholly compassionate and caring, and one that has infinite time for others too.  We need to fill the world with these children!

Family life is no longer as it used to be.  I am not completely ancient but I do remember evenings spent playing board games with the family and crazy, mad card sessions!  Francis and I play daily scrabble on our phones now!  It’s great fun.  He spent an afternoon with me a few weeks ago.  We were sat talking, and playing phone scrabble as we talked.  I forget who thought of it first but we suddenly realised how ridiculous we were!  Francis went into the lounge and came back carrying the original scrabble board game!  We sat and talked and played and laughed.  We allowed in the light and our day positively shone!

Instead of speaking to each other, we are in fear of abstaining and using machines to speak for us!  When you speak with people you generate energy.  The person you’re talking to can hear the warmth in your voice, as well as hearing your words and they can feel the energy of those words.  Texting someone just doesn’t have the same energy!  We are somehow losing the ability to connect with each other on a spiritual level.

Televisions are awesome.  They bring nature and the world into our living rooms.  But television programmes don’t require any interaction.  To sit a child down in front of the television instead of reading to them or playing a game with them distances them from you.  They have televisions, computers, tablets, smart phones; all amazing examples of technology, but those can’t replace a knee to sit on or a reassuring hug as you share a picture book with your babies and children.

My mother was a shining example!

She would read to us as children until she was hoarse!  She would then make sure that she stopped reading just as the book became exciting to the max!  She would leave us “just for minute” and come back 5 minutes later to find us reading on for ourselves!  She would then take over and read again but she had given us the push, the nudge to try for ourselves.  My sister and I are both avid readers.  We have a passion for books that was lovingly given to us by our Mum.

She would drop everything for a game of cards!  Housework was never important enough to drag her away from a good game of cards – and this practise continued with her grandchildren too!  Francis and Rowie always knew that if Mum and Dad were too busy, Gran would always be up for a game (except Monopoly)!!  She would down tools and play, tell stories, read – you never had to ask her twice!

Children have the ability to voice their feelings very well.  They have more of an ability to grasp at knowledge than we, their parents, do.  A child is like a sponge.  They are open.  They are non-judgemental.  They have the ability to see answers that go beyond logic.  They deserve our time and our love.  The impact our actions have on future generations and how, who and what we do and are, mould our children into the adults that they become – what an incredible but awe-inspiring responsibility!

Let’s listen to our children.  What we dismiss as not being important; perhaps their interminable chatter, may not mean much to us, but to them it means everything.  Make them feel heard.  Let them feel that they can talk to us anytime; and listen to what they are trying to tell us.  Ask ourselves, is ten minutes of playtime with our children more important than some task – and I’m guessing that it probably is ninety-nine times out of a hundred!

By listening and spending time with our children, we are teaching them life skills that will enable them to be caring, sharing people, who listen to others.  They will have confidence, feel good about themselves, and most importantly, feel loved.  I think that parenting is the most responsible and important task we have in life.  When we invest time in our children, we’re also investing time in the future of mankind and its planet.  Wow!