Carpe Diem

A red and white number one birthday candle on top of a blue and white iced cake.

One year ago today, I went full-frontal. I’m referring to The Lockwood Echo. This eclectic mix of pages within which you are currently wrapped.

On the 20th July 2017, I took hold of my naked fledging paper plane and launched it into the breeze. Its wings had only been folded the month before, whilst I privately tweaked with how it would sound, what colour its fuselage would be and whether or not it needed some widgets; (sarcastic, dark green and yes).

I told very few people of its maiden flight. Most of my family and friends were unaware that I was meddling in aerodynamics and fake newspapers as a way to express myself. The Lockwood Echo needed to navigate this unchartered territory under its own merit, without emotionally obliging loved ones to say how shiny it was. It didn’t know what was out there or who would jump aboard, but it absolutely knew it needed to fly solo. It was being a very brave paper plane.

Every now and then it hit some turbulence and needed reminding of what made it fly. A series of unfortunate events mostly. A need to exorcise an overwhelming emotional payload, which was starting to manifest itself physically.

So then. Carpe Diem. Usually translated as ‘Seize The Day’ and written by the Roman poet Horace;

Ask not (’tis forbidden knowledge), what our destined term of years,
Mine and yours; nor scan the tables of your Babylonish seers.
Better far to bear the future, my Leuconoe, like the past,
Whether Jove has many winters yet to give, or this our last;
This, that makes the Tyrrhene billows spend their strength against the shore.
Strain your wine and prove your wisdom; life is short; should hope be more?
In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebb’d away.
Seize the present; trust tomorrow e’en as little as you may.
(Translated quote from Wikipedia)

Seize the present. You can’t trust tomorrow. Or even predict it.

I am one of life’s procrastinators. Once viewed as a weakness, I now view it as a strength. I may take forever to make a decision, but I’ll have clambered over every face before usually making the right choice. If I’m thinking rather than doing, it’s because I’m not yet ready. Once I am ready, the task will receive my best and most thorough attention, which will be reciprocated in what I gain from it. I’m all or nothing.

Having said all that though, the lead up to The Lockwood Echo’s launch rang loud with Carpe Diem Alarm Bells. Already nauseous from the rollercoaster ride of the previous few months, I now felt panic. It was that ‘something’s gonna give’ feeling and for my partner’s sake, more than my own, I couldn’t let it be me. Some of the alarms were deafening, warning me, preparing me. I had to make or I’d break.

One of those alarm bells damn near burst my eardrums. The death of someone my age. A vital cog in a family who have been an integral part of my life for…….well…….forever. A Big Sister to more than her own siblings, it was a life led away far too soon after the craziest tug-of-war. To take someone who gave so much creates a ripple that can wash even the strongest overboard. For those who are left clinging to the lifebelts, it’s a mortal reminder. As Horace above says;

Strain your wine and prove your wisdom; life is short; should hope be more?

Her family continue to strain their wine and seize the day, looking after each other with their newly appointed Guardian Angel a constant by their side.

Carpe Diem’s more literal meaning is ‘Pluck The Day’ – for it is ripe. There comes a time for procrastination to cease. ‘Pluck The Day’ is also rhyming slang for…….another saying that makes you crack on with your life.

So I decided to indeed crack on with my life and chose Thursday 20th July 2017 as the day to do it. Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park chose it as the day to end his.

We all have strangers in our lives that will never know their impact. Chester Bennington was one of mine. The world of pain he sat in bore forth some of the most cathartic music and therapeutic lyrics I’d ever heard. Sadly, it was never to be enough therapy for Chester.

I discovered Linkin Park in 2003, just after their second album was released. A plan was hatched to see them live. It took 14 years to come to fruition. As we screamed our hearts out along with Chester and the band, in unisoned passion, little did we know it was to be not only our first, but the last ever time. Just 14 days later we sat stunned at the news that he’d hung himself.

At one point during the gig, Chester was in touching distance, at floor level with his fans. I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and say ‘Thankyou’. Thankyou for being so articulate with the words I’d struggled to find through some dark days. Thankyou for writing music I could scream and stamp to, venting some bubbling anger. And thankyou for showing the world what it is to be a beautiful caring human being. How heartbreaking for his family and friends that despite knowing and understanding his own pain, his connection to and advocacy of the help and support available, his personal decision to choose suicide was exactly that. Personal.

Whether the fight is physical or mental, the choice may not be in our hands (which could be said for either story above), or be very much under our control. The odd thing about death is that, ultimately, it affects the person who’s died the least.

I’d like to invite you to read my very first post; ‘Home’. A reflection on life, what defines ‘home’ and how even the tough stuff is part of that. Someone may no longer be physically with us, but the memory of them can still take us home. In part, for me, The Lockwood Echo is home. It’s my home here. My little brave paper plane that didn’t know if it could fly has found passengers from all over the world. And their thermals (comments and likes) have helped it soar. It’s no longer naked, I’ve written all over it. I’ve upgraded its widgets and the drinks trolley should be along any time now. (I think maybe for your sakes, I’ll stop with the flying references).

So thankyou, each and every single one of you (family, friends, strangers, that one who dropped in looking for real news). Thankyou for helping me reach my First Anniversary. Traditonally and appropriately the gift for which is paper. And my anniversay message is this;

Carpe Diem; Seize The Day.
Not just because it might be your last, but because it might be someone else’s.


This post is dedicated to the memories of Debbie & Chester.
You fought so hard to stay with us.
So sad you both had to go…….


I’m adding some links here that are relevant to the stories I’ve told above. For anyone in need of support, information or who would like to volunteer or make a charitable donation;

Cancer Research UK
Macmillan Cancer Support
NHS UK Mental Health Helplines
Change Direction
Suicide Prevention Line USA
Crisis Text Line USA

 

© The Lockwood Echo
These photos are my own and are a very special reminder of an incredible night.

32 comments

  1. Congratulations on your 1 year Blogaversary.
    Death comes to all, and it is a good choice to do the best we can with our time until then. Sometimes we don’t realise this lesson until those we love most are gone (I speak from experience, My Husband died at 42).
    Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy anniversary! I hope it’s the first of many. I really enjoy your writing and am glad to have connected with you. Still deciding whether to “seize” the day or ‘pluck” it . . . maybe both . . . the day is as long as it is short. Have some cake!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Happy Anniversary to You,
    Happy Anniversary to You,
    Happy Anniversary, Dear Lockwood Echo (echo echo echo),
    Happy Anniversary to You!

    (and many more!)

    I loved the juxtaposition of this post, celebrating the growth (or advancing airspeed?) of your blog (prepare for MACH 2!) contrasted with the tragic loss of a superstar. You never know when one’s time is nigh, or what their personal struggles are, so seize each day and treat each human with kindness (unless they are the current US president, then treat with scorn).

    Thank you for your continued high-quality efforts! I’m gonna sing again!

    Happy Anniversary to You,
    Happy Anniversary to You,
    Happy Anniversary, Dear Lockwood Echo (echo echo echo),
    Happy Anniversary to You!

    (and a punch, to grow a bunch!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations, and thank you for being here for a whole year. I wouldn’t have gotten here if you had given up! And I loved the paper plane and flying references, for what it’s worth! Here’s to many more years! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankyou Miss Jay. And congratulations to you for hanging on in there too! Originally my paper plane was a fledgling bird leaving the nest, but then I made what should’ve been the obvious connection to paper. Duh! Let’s all be here this time next year 😊

      Like

  5. Congratulations on your birthday anniversary celebration and for a terrific post, perhaps your best. Isn’t it delightfully satisfying when you can create your own fevered world where like-minded folks can drop by and chat and breathe in the kindred air?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh what lovely words. Thankyou ever so muchly. This time last year was a helluva intense period, for us and those around us. There were some huge highs, but good grief the lows were low, so this was very emotional to put together. But I really do feel like I’ve found my platform and my tribe here. So thank YOU for being part of the journey. At the end of the day (it gets dark – another life lesson), I’m doing this for me, but to know that others are enjoying this ride too, without bribery, is quite a buzz 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Circle Of Life is so beautiful yet so painful. This was so emotional for me to put together, on many levels. I have no idea where I’m flying to next, I have no itinerary or flight plan! But that suits me 😉 Thankyou for your lovely comment and for being one of my passengers. I may just have to upgrade your seat. Or at least bring round some snacks 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never say no to snacks, and wine….wine is good too. The pleasure of this ride is mine; you are lovely and hysterical and insightful and smart! I think it’s exciting that you are flying into the wind with no plan!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. To say that I am happy you started this blog is a vast understatement. Girl, thank you for launching this paper plane into the breeze. Your words in this post resonated with me so profoundly, I had a smile on face and a tear in my eye throughout the whole thing. I know all too well how an unexpected loss can alter the course of your life and make you realize the value of each and every breath. You are an absolute joy, and your presence brings so much light, and I implore you to never stop writing. Happy Anniversary, beautiful!!! Keep doing what you are doing. You are amazing! xo​

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh My! You’ve made my heart sing with that comment. And my little paper plane just did a loop the loop 🙂 I understand how the content will have hit you hard, but so glad you were able to smile through the tears, holding your memories close. Although loss (of a person) wasn’t the one defining factor for TLE’s launch, it certainly put fuel in the tank and cleared the runway for me (I gotta stop with the metaphors, they’re so cheesy!) Felt like I’d come up for air once I got going. And it didn’t matter if it was all a bit rubbish. I did it for ME and one day none of it would matter anyway. Just didn’t want that day to come, still feeling panic or deflated that yet again I’d had some thunder stolen because I was too shy and scared to speak up. Thankyou so so so much for hopping aboard (oh no, I’m doing it AGAIN! Oh well…….), Don’t know where we’re going next, but your passport will be valid for all locations 🙂
      (Why did I pick a plane? I’m TERRIFIED of flying!)

      Like

    • Aww, thankyou Warrior 🙂 As long as life keeps happening and my memory occasionally reminds me of another Tale of the Unexpected, I will do my utmost to keep this up. It’s really been one of my bravest but best decisions. And as much as I knew I’d agonise and overthink the community side of blogging, everyone here has been so encouraging, kind and accepting, none of you will ever know how much it has helped repair the rug under my feet. I just hope that in real life you are all as odd as me, and that this is a perfectly normal way to socialise 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        • As private as I am in many ways here, I’ve poured out my heart more than anywhere ever! Isn’t that a strange thing? Perhaps we feel anonymous, like talking through a screen in a confessional box! I find it really hard to make friends, I’m not very good at people-ing! And I’ve so often felt let down, or everyone is too busy with their own lives. But here I feel surrounded by kindred spirits. Learnt so much too 😉

          Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s what has made it all the more shocking. So many people have attested to the very same. The beautiful part is, because of his music, he will always be sat right next to you, singing in your ear 🙂

      Like

  7. Well done on your first year of blogging. I have loved witnessing your paper plane fly high and leave it’s mark on my heart along with masses of others. Can’t wait for the next few years worth.
    Loss is a horrible reminder to seize whatever we can. Thank you for your lovely blogs and happy anniversary. Can’t wait to follow the rest of your exciting times 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, that beautiful comment has gotten you a seat upgrade too! Albeit a bit belated 😉 I will also see if I can improve on the snack offering and we’ll find something for Munch, who of course will be travelling First Class with you. I don’t fly, is it First Class, or Club or Business? Whichever is best, there’s where you’ll be seated 🙂 I’m so happy you found your way to this little backwater aerodrome. I do indeed hope I can stay in business for years to come. This first year has passed so quickly and what’s evolved has surpassed my hopes and expectations. Whatever life throws at us next, it’s good to escape here with warm, understanding, supportive kindred spirits 🙂

      Like

      • I have a feeling that your friendly flights will last for decades and be admired by the masses ☺. Munch and I can’t wait to travel with you. Thanks from the both of us for the many smiles that you have put on our faces 😆

        Liked by 1 person

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