This is a blog about life, not death. I used to volunteer in a hospice program. It was rewarding but difficult. And, as I watched people slowly cross over to some place else (or no place, depending on what you believe), I only saw peace.
I know someone whose dying. He’s got a wife and a child – young. His wife writes a blog. Recently, she wrote about the last of his journey,
“Everyone wants to see him. I get it. I do. And if it were really my choice I’d be like oh yeah, come on in, say good bye! But, he just doesn’t want to. It didn’t really make sense to me at first, but now I get it. No matter how many people may surround you, death is a solitary journey. In the past few days, I have seen the man who has walked beside me for four years slowly drift onto his own path, where I cannot follow. I know, though, that when it is my turn, I’ll recognize the footprints he left for me, and I won’t feel alone and I won’t feel afraid.”
Friends, there is no getting around this. We will all go. For some it will be earlier than others. I want to say it doesn’t really matter when — but it does. No one really wants to leave. I don’t. But – it’s out of our control.
Let’s talk about life, though. The end, as she writes, is as important as the beginning and the middle. It’s true, isn’t it? How we live, who we love (and who loves us), how we set our priorities – that’s the real gift here. Some of you may find it depressing to think about death, but it can actually improve your life.
Sometimes I ask myself: When I’m dying, what could potentially cause me regret? Will it be the way I treated those I love? Will it be the money I didn’t make? The work I didn’t do? Will it be how much time I spent with my kids and family (blood or not)? I want to make sure the answer is “no” to it all. I want to make sure I give life my all.
In his Commencement Speech at Stanford University Steve Jobs said: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important thing I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life, because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
He’s dying and I want to thank him for doing so – as awful as it might feel to some. He’s reminding us all to live our lives to the fullest. Hug your children. Tell someone you’re mad at, how much you really do love them. Give it all out today – for that’s all we know for sure. The universe (and you) deserve it.