The world as we once knew it, has changed. This year especially, we are reminded on a daily basis of how quickly life can take an unexpected turn, of how quickly a country can be shut down, of how fragile human life is.
Then, to finish off the week we are given the news that Sir Sean Connery, our hero, the indestructible original James Bond as we knew him, has peacefully passed away.
Even though he lived to what we call a ‘ripe old age’, even though, according to his widow Micheline Roquebrune, “it was what he wanted”, collectively, we still grieve, and some of us were not ready for him to go. Not this year anyway.
Just as cells of the human body are completely replaced over time, so are generations, and this is what we are now experiencing. Not only do we grieve for Sir Sean, but we also grieve for the slow demise of a generation of resilient, legendary actors of the big screen, that many of us grew up with.
Even though we know they are also human, when a legend like Sir Sean passes away, we still grieve, and miraculously, it brings us together. During a time when it seems so many corners of the world are divided, for a moment, what unites us all, albeit briefly, is grief.
It is a welcomed distraction. In spite of the worlds sadness in saying goodbye to Sir Sean, it is a time to be reminded that there is good in everything, even death. To be open to the possibility that, instead of tears of anger, frustration and division, to instead be united as we all tweeted and socially shared, how much he touched our lives.
It is easy to forget that Sir Sean was 90, and that like us all, he was human. He was blessed to have lived a very long, and successful life. Perhaps this was one of the reasons that we saw him as more than human, his professional life seemed to change and evolve with each decade, and on some level, he became more appealing.
The moment you hear the name Sean Connery, you cannot help but picture the young James Bond, whom, as soon as he spoke with that deep voice, immediately commanded attention and respect.
There was no such thing as fear in his world as James Bond, he met it head on, danced with it, and had the ability to overcome it. To us, he was superhuman and had qualities that we so wanted to ignite within ourselves, even if it was only for a short time whilst mesmerized by his movies.
Sean lived a life that so many of us would have loved and whilst it may be tempting to focus on our loss, let us not forget the loss to his family, a loss that began some time before he took his final breaths.
Now it is revealed by his widow that Sir Sean was suffering dementia. Not something we could ever imagine James Bond having, however, dementia, like all illness, is a frightening equalizer for mankind.
For those who have not had direct experience with dementia it may be just a word, one you carefully choose not to think about. For others who have experienced, or are still watching their parents suffer, it is not a nice journey.
It is a journey I am personally walking with not one, but both parents, and one that I would not wish upon anyone. You never believe that your incredibly strong resilient parents who have survived insurmountable adversity in their lives, could fall victim to this disease, and never have the chance of beating it.
For many, hearing that their idol Sir Sean, had dementia, may not be what they wished to hear. They want to remember how they felt when they saw him on the screen. Whether it be as James Bond or as Captain Marko Ramius from the Hunt for Red October, to his widow, Micheline Roquebrune, when he came home, he was simply Sean.
Reflecting on their 45 years of marriage in a heart breaking statement, she said it was “going to be very hard without him”.
“He was gorgeous and we had a wonderful life together. He was a model of a man. It is going to be very hard without him, I know that. But it could not last for ever and he went peacefully.”
This is sadly, the cycle of life, and yet again, we have all been reminded of the importance to not count the days, but to make each day count.
As Micheline so simply says, “it could not last forever”.
Not even for Sir Sean, the extraordinary, legendary, Bond, James Bond.