Last month, a friend of my parents had been admitted to the hospital to undergo surgery. The docs opened him up… and then closed him back again. There was nothing they could do to save him. Afterwards, they told him he had only a couple of weeks left to live.
I can’t imagine what went through his or his family’s heads at that point, nor, if I can be honest, would I ever want to. If one were to think of life as a game, it seems a little cruel to imagine that the “reward” for living/ playing the game would be death. My own beliefs are completely against that simply for the fact that I can not believe that the beauty of life (from the natural world around us, to the beautiful moments of living and loving) could be “wiped away” with something as natural as expiring without it being more than just “death”. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Anyhow, one of the things he did do as part of preparing for the end was to take the time to reach out to everyone he had known to just say good-bye, to thank others for the times they spent together, and just basically have one final discussion.
I will say that my parents were both extremely touched and grateful to have been given that chance to speak to him before he passed on. They were obviously very sad to learn of his imminent death but for the length of that phone call, they were all able to reminisce, laugh, and be grateful together for the times they spent together and the things they all did for each other over the years. I think it was a beautiful way to leave behind the right memories because as they think about him from now on, just as they did when he finally passed away 2 weeks later, it will always be about that phone call and not about anything negative in the “I wish I had told him…” way.
I was saddened to hear that he had passed on as I both knew and liked him. But my esteem of him was definitely raised when my parents related the story of his good-bye. It made me wonder – which is usually the case when death stops in for a visit – if I’m living the kind of life where it would be okay for me to pass on. You know, the whole “live every day as if it were your last because one day you’ll be right” mantra.
Now, I know the kind of life I’ve lived, and the “type” of person I’ve been over my last 40+ years, and I have come to terms with many of my “stupidities of youth” which I sometimes feel lasted for many, many years 🙂 And I can say that I’ve reconciled or accepted how things are with everyone I’ve ever needed to (apologizing where appropriate) except for perhaps 2 people in varying degrees in my more recent past.
If I were to die today, I know how everyone would/could remember me and know that there isn’t anything important that is “unsaid” and there is a certain peace that comes with that. Those who know me, know how I feel about them, and that is a comforting feeling. For the two I mentioned above, well, I know they come around here every now and then so there is still a chance they will read what I’m writing now and know that one day I will reach out again.
I guess the main point I’m trying to make is to remind everyone, again, that life is way too short. That is true if you’ve lived 5, 10, or 500 years. When you’re at the end of it, it’s all a blur. You could be standing there regretting that you never climbed Everest (which is something I’ll never understand because you don’t need to go that high up to see the beauty of the world unfolding before you) but you should, but you shouldn’t be regretting not having said something important to someone you know and love. As another reminder, the truth can be said for the reverse as well. Don’t wait for someone to be gone to miss them and regret words you should have said.
The people you see each day frame the kind of life you live. Make sure you surround yourselves with the right ones who will bring light to your soul and not the ones that will suck the light out of your soul and leave darkness behind. A smile is much more powerful than a frown if you know how to use it right.