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As a deep thinker, an over thinker, and someone who obsesses about some very strange things at times, I have come to realise that one thing bugs me over and over. My legacy!

I recently blogged about dying, cheerful I know, but it was on my mind, so I put it out there. In that piece I questioned what it was all about. Is death to be feared, or lived for? When we are gone, what is left, and what difference does our passing make to everyone else.

Having lost quite a few friends over the years, as well as some good acquaintances, its quite easy for me to make this next observation. Some people I have known who have died rarely ever cross my mind. Other however come into my thoughts on an almost daily basis. Not as sadness, but as memories of times gone by, thinking how a certain person would have liked whatever it is I'm doing at that moment, or just missing them for a moment.

In reality, I'm sure we all strive to be the latter. I know I do. I think I actually fear just being forgotten. I know I have shared some very special moments with some amazing people, and hope already that I have left my mark in life, at least in my own generation. I hope that I have done enough in life to generate a huge amount of 'do you remember when we' type conversations, as I have done about friends who have passed.

But there is a bone of contention in there, and one that doesn't sit well with me. My true legacy.
I am 42 years old now, far from old, but certain opportunities in life have reached a point of no return now. Choosing to have a child now, the primeval instinct of the human race, is quite a stretch in my world now, and not a choice I would make. Like a woman with her biological clock ticking away, I share that feeling of a door closing.
Of course, I have a child, or should I say, I fathered a child who is now a 20 year old woman.

It doesn't get to me too often, not something that I dwell on too much. I know in the years I have been absent she has been well looked after and loved. Raised well, and strives to make great academic achievements. I would say I'm really proud, but then that is a little glory grabbing really as its none of my doing.
Or is it? On a gross and scientific level, I do have something to be proud of. My genes after all went into her genetic makeup, she is 50% me, and while one part of the biological equation seems to have forgotten I am quite intelligent, thankfully her brain hasn't, and a part of me is indeed responsible for her success.

The truth is, my legacy as it stands is in 2 very separate pieces.
On the one hand, another generation has a life, will out live me, and a bloodline will continue. Regardless of my role and presence in the past 16 years, without me, there would be no her. Someone else maybe, but not her. Regardless of our interactions in years to come, her wishes to know me or involve me, she is my legacy. Like it or not.

Then the second part is the lives I have shared. The memories of the people I hold dearest to me, and who I have shared moments of happiness, sadness and of course stupidity with. A part of my life I have full control over, decisions I have made, and futures I have shaped. I hope I have done enough in those peoples lives to be remembered until their final days too, and for the stories of our adventures together to be told for decades to come.

Do you strive for a legacy? Or just take each day as it comes, and not care about what happens when you are gone?

Well I guess its true, sooner or later our time is up, and we leave behind everything we have grown to know and love. Leave them to cope without us, and for them to find a way to accept and deal with the fact that we have gone.
Recent months and years have seen me lose quite a few people, some extremely close to me, others have been more casual acquaintances, but ones that I still care about. The one thing that has always confused me is how in one breath I can lose someone dear to me, and be 'ok' with it, and then someone else will go, and suddenly its much harder to deal with.
Today, on hearing the news that Darren had passed I was left stunned, shocked, and pretty upset at the news. Even though I have not seen him for a couple of years, it got to me deep inside. Then finally the penny dropped.
I was having a conversation on BBM when I had an epiphany. I have always accepted that death is a certain part of the cycle of life. And as much as it pains me to let people go, its makes sense that we have to eventually. But during the conversation today I said something that is the key to it all. Its HOW I lose someone, not so much who has been lost and how close they were to me.
Knowing mum was ill, knowing Graeme was ill, it all was pre thought out, their time was short, and sooner or later their light would go out. There was time for goodbyes, time to finish off business with them. Most importantly there was time to accept that it would soon be over, and as my counsellor once suggested, we almost grieve in advance. Grieve is a complex word really, the same meaning to all, but a totally different process for many of us. My way of grieving is to remember, reflect, and let go. As little sadness as possible, remembering positives, and continuing the way I know that person would want their memory to be carried. With pride and courage.
For others, their passings have been so sudden, violent in a couple of senses, and so unexpected, that it knocks you for six, and leaves you bewildered. So much unsaid, so many dreams unfulfilled, and so many people left with an open page, yet nothing left to complete it with. When John passed we had spoken recently, and I felt that we had lived through so much, and said so much in that last conversation, that we left no unfinished business. That was easy for me to say, but many others I know did not have that blessing.
In Darrens case, time has gifted me with distance, and separation from certain things. Namely the day to day life events that were current to Darren and his family/loved ones. That's not to say that I do not feel a great sense of loss. For years now, our occasional encounters would always bring laughter and joy to me. An evening with Darren and Tony was always on a knifes edge, and full of uncertainty. But that's who Darren was. A joker, a playful guy, but someone who was passionate about others. He had his flaws, hell we all do, but for the most part you could forget that, and just have a laugh.
Now reflecting on others who have passed in recent times, it all makes sense, a pattern appears and I can start to see what my course is for dealing with these losses. I actually lose track at times of how many people in what time frame I have lost. But one thing I never forget is, I am not the only one feeling empty, lost and sad. These people who leave us leave behind a whole group of family, friends, and casual contacts. And as each one who passes seems so damn special, they leave many many people with the sense of loss.
Its a strange thought I know, and I am not competing for a second. I'm sure we have all done it, but I find myself wondering if I am blessed enough to have the same impact on my friends. I wish and hope that we will never find the answer to that question, but its one of the strange things, amongst many, that goes through my head.
Speaking of me and strange, this is another thing that I find eats away at me. Knowing information, the anatomy of the event, how, why, what and where. I feel I need to know every detail before I can let something go properly. Illness is simple to accept, and with mum I was there at the moment she passed. No questions, and I think my exposure to the whole journey to the very end helped me cope. Cope in a way some still find quite strange. No true grief, just a little confusion.
But with accidents, Kevin, John Weston, John Littlebury, Adam King and so on, including Darren, its different. I always pray there was no suffering, that it was quick. With a positive thought still in mind at the moment the light went out. No panic or fear, no pain or distress. Not knowing this drives me crazy, but its obviously strange and unethical to even try and know for sure.
When Adam died, the first person I knew who was suddenly gone, it was as a pedestrian vs car. Sadly for me my best friend at the time was the son of the coroner, and was telling me a story of the boy his father had dealt with that day. The way the boy was struck by a car, and left unable to move due to injured legs. Able to push himself up on his hands he was able to raise himself and look up, just in time for the second car to strike him in the face and head.....
So as you can see, left with memories like that, I find it hard to put something down without knowing that they didn't suffer. Its true that we really are programmed by previous experiences in our lives. Sorry if the above causes distress. But that's what I live with day to day.
As I veer back on track, it all starts to make more sense to me now.
I have spent the whole afternoon trying to make sense of things, and come to terms with the fact that yet another person from my past has left us. To try not to get too emotional about it, and to instead think of those who have today lost someone far closer to them than I have. For those people I bow my head, and I hope deeply for you to be able to cope with this in the best possible way you can find.
Darren was about strength, and always carried a big smile on his face, and imprinted that on others wherever he went. Today I for one, and I hope others can do the same, want to remember Darren for the man he was, and make him proud by carrying my head high. Looking to the skies with the same smile he imprinted on me, and adding his memory to the others I carry with me daily. I take pride that I knew you Darren, and thank you for the friendship you shared with me and so many others. I no longer feel empty, as the physical hole you leave behind has now been filled with so many great memories.
Thank you Darren for the memories you gave us all, the kindness you offered, and the memories you leave us with. I will miss you for an eternity, but never will I forget you.
R.I.P Darren Green, who's light was extinguished on 28th Feb 2012.
Love you brother.
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