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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Tony Farley: Let’s love, not just live, in the moment

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Tony Farley’s daughter Mathilde. Photo: Linkedin
Tony Farley’s daughter Mathilde. Photo: Linkedin

Our lives hang by a thread and at any moment life can end. As true as this might be, for most of us life will conclude slowly, predictably and some time in a future we call old age.

We understandably live in the moment and often take for granted what we value most, which is living each day and most importantly the lives of our children and other close family members, friends and work colleagues.

Two weeks ago, on a Monday morning, my wife Vanessa received a phone call from the second of our three children, Mathilde, who is 24 and finishing a Masters degree, works part time and lives independently.

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Mathilde was an hour earlier standing on the corner of Cleveland and George Streets at 8.30am waiting to cross the road on her way to a clinical placement at Sydney Dental Hospital.

The next thing she knew she was hit by a car that had mounted the curb and hurled her seven metres across the road, along with another woman who happened to be standing next to her.

The driver of the car did not stop and Mathilde and the other woman were soon taken by ambulance to hospital. Vanessa spent the day with Mathilde at St Vincent’s Hospital, where she remained overnight. I sat with her on Tuesday until she was discharged late that afternoon.

Mathilde sustained a broken tibia, knee ligament damage, lots of bumps and bruises and will have at least three months of rehab before she is going to be close to her old self.

I dropped her home and she said she would come over to the family home that Saturday night to stay and just hang out with us.

The rest of the week ran its familiar busy course and it was not until Saturday morning that I woke to an overwhelming feeling of dread. What if Mathilde was more seriously injured?

What if she had died that Monday morning on Cleveland Street? A weird and uneasy day followed and I tried to put those dark thoughts to the back of my mind until that evening I walked into Mathilde’s room and sat at the end of the bed she was perched on, her knee braced leg stretched out as she read a book.

I wanted to tell her how much I loved her but I could not hold back the tears and all I could get out was “life without you would be unbearable.” Mathilde is lovely in so many ways and she just very calmly and kindly said “it’s alright Dad, I love you too.”

Why post this on a professional network platform? Because our working lives are part of a complex web of relationships both personal and professional—family, friends and community are essential to keeping those relationships strong and enduring.

Our fragile existence is filled with little moments often taken for granted that become far more important when we no longer have them or the person who made them possible.

Perhaps it is not so much living in the moment as loving in the moment and appreciating the joy and love that is all around us.

This column was originally posted on LinkedIn and has been republished with permission.

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