An end may be a beginning

Recent endings and beginnings of lives resulted in moments of deep reflection about what we are doing with our time here on earth and what legacy we want to leave.

Endings and beginnings are moments that offer an opportunity to take stock, reflect and consider life in general and living in particular. Over the past two weeks we have honoured the end of a life, that of David, Matthew’s Dad and celebrated the beginning of a new life in the birth of Chantal’s first granddaughter, Leah.

The end of the life of a loved one leaves a vacuum. Matthew has experienced what he calls incessant memories of times with his dad that arrive without warning. These memories have filled that space momentarily. They have also given pause for reflection. David was not very forthcoming about his past and now Matthew has an insatiable desire to know more. He wants to find out about David’s childhood, his parents, who Matthew never met, and his brothers and sisters, only one of which is still alive.

Questions have surfaced about his father: How did he live his life? What were his dreams and desires? What were his regrets? What made him who he was? And what can we learn from his life?


How are we doing

As these inquiries into a life lived long are interrogated it has also given the impetus to mull over the possibilities encapsulated in the life ahead of our little being, so short in this world. What adventures await her? What challenges and delights sit in the shadows and light of her life? What will she laugh at? What will make her cry? And what can we teach her as we watch and learn from her journey?

Endings and beginnings remind us of the cycles of life. They poke us and prod us to sit up and check in on how we are doing with our exquisite, fleeting time here on earth.

Are we shining the jewels in our soul’s treasure chest, adding more as we traverse our years and using them as gifts and inspiration for others? Or do we hide them in the dark, allowing them to patina, grow dull and shrink through pilfery or forgetfulness?


Beautiful patterns and rivulets of life—a tapestry of joy, heartache, challenge and triumph etched on a the face of a magnificent human being.

Cracked open the window

Chantal watched her children’s grandfather waste away from cancer. His death came too soon after his longed for retirement. He had spent most of his adult life yearning for this time. His work gave him little joy but he fell ill soon after retiring to the coast.

The end of this dear man’s time became the crowbar that forced Chantal to crack open the window to her world and force her to look at her situation in all its comfortable discomfort. She did not want to work towards some retirement nirvana only to end up in a dull grey future, regretting time wasted on work that did not move or inspire her. “Bored and miserable” did not have a welcome ring to it.

“It's time for me to make a change for me,” she announced to her unsuspecting family, some of whom she was in business with.

She exited the family business, went back to school to complete a masters in leadership coaching and set up her own small practice. This decision in turn led her to meet Matthew and eventually set up 5th Place with him.

It may not be the place of perfect peace and happiness but it is a place of the heart. On the road there have been many other endings and beginnings. Many stops along the way to say goodbye, to grieve and let go. Many opportunities to move forward with renewed hope.


A little human seed waiting to germinate and flourish in all her glorious potential!

Renewed sense of belonging

Matthew’s deep dives into his father’s past have offered him new perspectives on his own life and how he came to be who he is. These delvings are not by any means over, there is still so much to discover but so far they have offered solace and surprise.

Matthew has a renewed sense of belonging. Considering he’s felt like a man out of time and place for most of his life, the perpetual stranger in a strange land, this is profound for him.

David never fully understood Matthew, his interests, or his passions. Being a man of a certain era and age, hands-on practicalities grounded in earthly science and physics were what he was comfortable with. The complex, confused, overly sensitive, hyper-intelligent boy who was his eldest son often confounded him.

A memory surfaced for Matthew of an episode when he was a teenager:

"You don’t always have to be so different!" his dad had grumbled to him in frustration.

"It’s not like I put it on like a pair of pants," an equally frustrated Matthew had retorted, "This is the way I am."

And yet, the one consistent pillar, backbone, rock, anchor, fortress, haven, lighthouse, cornerstone, bedrock, shield, guardian, and steadfast beacon that Matthew experienced from his dad was just this: a love, affection, and care in spite of the lack of understanding he had about his son's peculiarities. This is the legacy that David left.


We are all connected in this great web of life. What will your legacy be?

What legacy?

Amidst the swirling swells of emotional highs and lows Matthew has been forced to consider what legacy he would want to leave. Drawing inspiration from his father’s passing he’s arrived at a place where “who you are and how you impact others” is more important than “what you build or the accolades you collect.”

With his dad no longer here to call on, and the calling of possibilities from a life so new and bountiful, Matthew considers this as his desire:

To positively impact those around him so they feel like they matter. To inspire them to live lives of meaning—lives that are bursting, juicy, and full. A life straining at the seams, full of passion, purpose, and potency. A life aligned with consistent character development, right up there with the best kind of storytelling narratives.

Now it is time to begin again to fuel that dream. Because in the end, what we have, we leave behind. But what we can also leave behind are the many tiny ways we made others feel important, seen, mattered, cherished, empowered, validated, appreciated, recognized, loved, and inspired to begin, themselves, to move to their potential and grace.

Until next time.

Yours in feeling,
Matthew & Chantal

Posted in

About the author

5th Place

5th Place is a dynamic organization that's passionate about emotional fitness. We're the creators of Shape of Emotion, a revolutionary tool that's changing the way we understand and manage our emotions. But we're not just about theory - we're about practical, tangible change.

We offer Emotional Fitness Classes and courses that help individuals, from children to adults, build emotional resilience and well-being. For our younger audience, we've created the Vibarealm, a vibrant universe that encourages a healthier interaction with emotions.

Join us on this journey to emotional fitness and let's make the world a better place together.

Explore related categories

Recent posts


Interested in how 5th Place can support you?

Here's two ways to connect with us