No one you love is ever dead

by | Feb 12, 2021 | My Story

“Very few people are ever really alive, and those that are, never die no matter if they are gone. No one you love is ever dead”

Ernest Hemingway

This quote was shared with me by an incredibly dear friend, on the anniversary of Erny’s passing last year.

Not many words can sum his life up better than these.

The power in these words pulled me back to read it again and again.

I am not a philosopher, nor do I intend to become one. But I felt the need to try and understand a deeper meaning:

  • How many of us are actually alive? Being present in each moment, consciously making the most out of each situation; instead of just functioning, being dragged along by our daily routine.
  • How is it possible that some people do not die? What makes them unforgettable? How did they manage to impact so many people’s lives during their life-time? Was it by living life passionately; encouraging others; loving fiercely and having fun?
  • How does our love for someone keep them alive? This is the one question I am able to answer with some confidence. We do it through the power of remembering; our memories, good and bad. We take all these snapshots and sound bites to make our own movie. We edit, cut and paste; we rewind and we fast forward. Some of the footage is in full colour, vivid like it just happened, while some is in greyscale and a bit smudgy around the edges. But no matter what the brightness of these memories are, they represent a life lived, one which we will eternally cherish.

I know that Erny influenced many people, and he touched many lives with his joie de vivre, his spontaneity, thoughtfulness, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

And I was reminded of this a few days ago: I received a whatsapp from a tree feller, asking if we had any trees on the farm which needed to be cut down. He explained that he had met Erny at the hospital some years ago and following that interaction decided to start his own sawmill business. Greater detail he did not give me.

But I can just imagine that they somehow got talking during Erny’s hospitalization; perhaps he mentioned to Erny that he was not happy working at the hospital, that he had another dream or passion; or maybe a business opportunity. And this discussion encouraged him to make a life changing decision.

I recounted this story to my son, who said: Papa was a legend!