Death is one thing that I have so much and simultaneously so little to say about. It is the one thing we truly cannot escape or avoid in life. It is inevitable.
What if you had notice though? What if you had the knowledge of when you would die and how would you spend the time that you had left?
Say you know for a fact that within 30 days you would leave the earth, how would you spend those 30 days? And if from the day you were born you were given a specific timeline, would you have lived your life any different than what you are now?
And if the knowledge of your death would have had you live a different life, why are you not living that life now, why would that knowledge change you? Why not be the best (or worst) you that might give you (perceived) happiness?
A friend recently posed this question and it got me to thinking, what would I really do?
My initial thinking was that I would want my minions and to smother them with attention and give them memories that they could hold onto forever.
I thought I might do like memory capsules for them to open on (some, not all) birthdays with video messages or notes so that they know that I would have loved to be with them, you know? I thought that I would want to have at least one big bash with friends, like a final white goodbye party.
Upon reflection though I think that that thinking was swayed by other things that I had read. I am not really an overly social person. My pleasures are reading, some TV, writing and hanging with my gang. I love listening to their conversations when they are playing or when they think no-one is listening to them.
I love when they get excited about going out to the simplest places and about doing the simplest things.
I love when they climb into my lap (even the old one) and just sit, not saying a word. I love when they climb all over me and all talk at once, clamouring for my attention. I love the way they make me feel as a human being and I love that I was chosen as a vessel to bring them into this earth.
And so, really, I think if I knew I was exiting life, I would try to create as many moments as possible to create those simple memories for them. I would try to not be overwhelming with my affections because I wouldn’t want to overwhelm them.
I would cook for them, if I had the strength. And probably if I didn’t. I would cook their favourite things and eavesdrop as they tell each other quietly ‘mom makes the best food’. I would revel in the pleasure of answering the usual ‘who taught you to cook, mom?’.
I would stare at them and marvel at the fact that I would soon not lay eyes upon them again in this earth. I would do those simple things that give them so much pleasure.
And I would write! Oh boy would I write. I would most probably have sleepless nights, writing. I would write them messages, I would write stories. I would write each of them their birth story, I would write my prayers for each of them down. I would write short stories using them as characters and I would have it bound.
Now the question is, why am I not doing these things now? Does the knowledge of my death mean that I should only then be spurred into action to do what I could very easily do right now, today?
Does the not knowing mean that I should sit on my hands and not do what is really not so hard to do every day?
Because the reality is that life can end in a second. With warning you may have the time to consciously make an effort, but without warning we have to sincerely do that things that are the most important to us and mean the most to those we care about deeply. I’m not a fan of clichés however when they say ‘live your life as if today is your last day’ I am sure they don’t mean go bungee jumping or rob a bank or drink tons of alcohol.
I am pretty sure it means that do those little everyday things, do them fully so that when your eyes shut, with or without notice, the people who you leave behind (cause let’s be honest, your death doesn’t affect you, it affects those who have to deal with the consequences of it) can embrace the truth of who you were to them without pretence.
That they clearly and succinctly understand who they were to you, what place they held in your life and that for the rest of theirs, they never have any reason to doubt that.
So I think I will do that from today. I will complain less when they climb all over me, no matter how tired or hot I am. I will listen more intently to their secret talks and I will listen to and guard their secrets.
I will be more appreciative of the fact that they believe their mother is the best chef in the world (she is btw). I will go get out my prayer journals for them and try to write in each one at least once a week. I will write stories for them, so that they will truly understand what it means when they hear me say ‘I enjoy writing’.
I will take them on drives and to the pools and have indoor picnics and enjoy those small things with them. I will make them laugh and let the sound wash over me and I will smile at them and enjoy watching them smile back.
Our loved ones deserve that. And we deserve knowing that when we draw our final breath, we have never left any doubt in their minds that they are loved.
In the imperfection of this world and of this life, may our love be perfect in its clarity.
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