This weekend, I said goodbye to someone I greatly respect and admire who is dying and has about 3 weeks to live. I debated back and forth whether to visit; I knew it would be an emotional visit. He’s had many visitors the past week, many of whom have told him of the tremendous impact he’s had in their lives. As he told it, he simply has lived life by this philosophy: “Always remember that you came from humble beginnings, and never put yourself above anyone else…those folks may have helped you get where you are today.”
I’ve been thinking on this for days. It’s a fairly simple philosophy. Nothing complicated, nothing difficult to understand.
During our short 20-minute visit, he held my hand as I knelt by his chair. I was upset with myself for waiting until this moment to tell my friend and mentor the impact he’s had in my life. Why do we wait until life transitions to tell people how much they mean to us? What their actions and words have meant? At the end of our visit, he squeezed my hand, and told me he loved me. I told him that I loved him, too, and knew it would be the last words I would speak to him.
The questions I’ve had on my mind since are, how can I better live this philosophy? If I knew my time was limited, what philosophy would I impart? Would it have meaning? Would my life have had meaning? Then it occurs to me, that no matter what questions I have about my own existence and purpose, now is the time to make positive change. Now is the time to live life to the fullest.
Doing that is a bit more complicated, I think. Or, rather, it’s as complicated as we make it to be. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day…running kids from point A to point B, mundane errands such as picking up dog food, and working…but when we have overriding goals, it’s easy to see how these day-to-day activities can work in support of where we want to go in life, vs working against it.
So, I choose this experience to be one of growth and new beginnings. Sure, I grieve the loss of my friend. But, I’ve been reminded of just how short our time is here on this world, and to not waste a moment. Every day is a new beginning and a precious gift; and, to tell those that I care about that I love them.