In this issue: Always where you belong – On the campaign trail – Fit for purpose – The company of friends – Natural connection – Stop and smell the coffee – Performance art – Head over heels – Zest for life
And When Did You Last See Your Father? enquires the title of Blake Morrison’s 1993 memoir, a powerful exploration of the complexities and messiness of life and a thought-provoking insight into the challenge of seeing those you know, and often love, die. Morrison’s text is also a reminder of the added urgency that can come when death is close. The need to ask long-held questions, find a way to acknowledge flaws while respecting strengths, and resolve disputes – or at least gain understanding – becomes imperative.
It’s not an easy subject, and one many people are happy to put to one side until the end is nigh. Others, however, feel that an awareness of death is an invitation to embrace life now, to follow dreams, to not fear failure, to focus on what and who is important, and give yourself permission to be happy. It might mean that tough questions (of yourself and others) are more likely to be aired.
In this digital age, it perhaps also carries another message – to close the laptop, put the smartphone on silent and engage more fully with the offline world. Think how many hours might be spent seeing family and friends – really seeing and understanding them – if the time wasn’t swallowed up by a sea of ‘likes’, ‘dislikes’ and searching for perfect emoji on top of negotiating myriad online tasks.
Life brings many invitations to stop and think about what you have to be grateful for in the here and now, as well as what you might like to do in the future and where you’d like it to take you. Death is a powerful one because it’s a reminder that life is fleeting, that loved ones won’t always be there, that we won’t always be here. The online sphere can mostly wait, the offline world is different. Embrace every moment.