Recently a vibrant, healthy person I knew, who was fully engaged in life, was diagnosed with cancer and gone within a couple of months. This caused me to reflect on my own life and what reaction I might have if I had received the same news. Though it’s true we can never really predict our reaction until we are in that situation, I thought I would “take a crack” at thinking about it.
I know death is a part of life and that we don’t get one without the other. During my earlier time as a hospital nurse, I came to see death as an experience we will all have. Just the same, I thought I’d share with you some of the soul-searching questions I’ve been asking myself lately.
Am I ready? Am I ready if it’s my time and what exactly does that mean? What would I need to do, think or say to be ready? What would I be sad about or regret, wish I had done more or less of, if I knew my time here was over?
What if anything, do I need to let go of? Am I holding on to anger or resentment from the past or fears about the future? What could I let go of to improve the quality of my life or relationships now? Are there people or events that I am not accepting as they are?
Am I living the life I want NOW? Am I waiting for some time in the future before I give myself permission to do or not do what makes me happy? If so why, and is there some small step I could take now to move me closer to what I want? Do I have anything left unsaid? Is there any kindness I can offer now?
Is there anything, I can do to help prepare my loved ones?
Though there are many more adventures I would like to take, I’ve chosen to feel at peace with the idea of dying. It is death that gives meaning to our lives. If we knew life would go on forever it would not be valuable. No one is promised tomorrow or a long, happy life into their 80s or 90s. Just because this has been true for many more people now than it was in the past, it doesn’t mean it will be true for us.
The point of this for me, is to reflect on how I can improve the quality of my life NOW, because I don’t know when my time is coming.
My wish for you and me is that we find a way to reframe our relationship with death in a way that brings us one step closer to feeling more comfort and ease inside of ourselves. We can choose the traditional view that generally sees death as a tragedy, or we can choose to think differently about it. We can choose to think about it in a way that makes us feel more peaceful and perhaps allow it to motivate us to live the life we want now. Isn’t it time? When would be a better time? Remember, we get to decide what life we live… and when we live it.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A person who lives their life fully is prepared to die at any time.”
– Mark Twain
With love, Jackie