Yesterday, I was reading through some messages that I and a close friend had been exchanging over time. As I read them, I experienced a range of feelings, from sadness to a deeper appreciation of our relationship.
The sadness was due to my reading our messages dated two months before he passed away. I had just spent a wonderful week with him, taking photographs, and had been telling him how much I enjoyed our discussions about photography. He replied, telling me how much he valued our relationship. He was a well known film director and had a wealth of knowledge about lighting, composition and creativity in photography, that he shared with me in abundance.
I used to visit him on a yearly basis, usually around his birthday. For me, it was a photographic retreat where I could immerse myself into a field that I loved.
When he visited me, we spent hours talking about philosophy and psychology. He shared some of his deepest emotional struggles with me. It seemed that without us knowing it, we developed this ‘to and fro’ visiting rhythm where photography was centre stage in his place of abode, and psychology was the theme when he spent time visiting me.
During my visit in April 2014, he did not know that he had cancer. We also did not know that he only had two more months to live. As I was reading through our exchange that we had in April 2014, I couldn’t stop thinking about the notion of legacy and love, and how quickly life can change and how fragile our existence actually is. In this age of information flow, communication is documented and archived in a string of ‘to and fro’ bits of meaningful (or not?) exchanges between people. As you reflect back on the past communication you have had with a friend or family member, you never know when death will intervene and stop the exchange.
As I read through the old messages between us, there were no regrets about not having said what I really wanted to say, or wishing that I hadn’t said what I had said. In fact, as I went through our messaging, I felt a deeper appreciation of our relationship.
I couldn’t stop feeling that since we live in a state of ‘not knowing’ when it comes to death, our every message that we send to others should be enveloped with a conscious awareness that we are creating a legacy of who we are, and how we wish to be remembered.