Live Like You Were Dying
Last updated: May 2018
“Look calmly and confidently at the situation. Then step gratefully forward, and make something beautiful, valuable, and meaningful out of it all.” -Ralph Marston
About 3 weeks ago, I got a call from my mom. It’s one of those calls you never want to get, but know that inevitably one day you will. She called to tell me that my grandfather wasn’t doing well and was being put in home hospice with just two short weeks to live. It’s been three beautiful weeks now, and I’m happy to say that my grandfather, or Poppy as we call him, is still holding on. But, we know that the time is coming, and just knowing that has shifted my perspective over the past few weeks. Knowing someone you deeply love is at the end of their journey here on earth is hard. It brings heartache in ways that nothing else can, and watching those around you go through it is equally as taxing. There are so many emotions that transpire when you know a loved one is in their final days of life. It makes you realize the shock and uncertainty of how final death truly is. There is the fear and anger, guilt and regret, anxiety and depression as well as the overall grief you feel over the whole situation.
My heart still hurts
I’ve already had to tell my grandfather “see you later,” as I currently live six hours away from him, and I’ve made some sort of peace out of it all, but my heart still hurts. It hurts for him and what he must be going through, knowing he’s having to leave his wife of 53 years, and family at just 77 years old. It hurts for my grandmother (my Nana), it hurts for my mom and her sisters and for all of my family that are as close to him as I am. And, it hurts for me. It hurts to know the next time I go to his house he won’t be sitting in his rocking chair to greet me with his ornery antics, it hurts that I’ll never get to physically hug him again, and it hurts that he won’t get to see my son, his first great grandson, grow, or any of his future great grandchildren. I’m incredibly grateful for the long life he’s been given, but in the grand scheme of things it still seems he’s having to leave us far too soon. Overall I’m thankful for the time that we had together, and the sweet memories we made. One thing watching someone die has taught me, is that life is truly short and each day isn’t promised. One day he was going on with his life, and the next he was told he had only a brief time left. It has reminded me that at 27, while I’ve made a lot of mistakes, I still want to spend the time I have left living my best life. You know that song by Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying”? I want to live like that.
Take each day as it comes
My life isn’t all happy go lucky, I have a lot of bad days. I have many days where I feel like I don’t do enough or make the best out of every situation. I have days where I hurt, and I lash out, and I feel like a failure. I have days where I mope and I feel sorry for myself. I’m only human, and I tend to feel inadequate more times than I like. But, this situation has reminded me how I want to take each day as it comes and I want to do my best to cherish the small things more. I want to seize the day, and do everything in my power to enjoy the everyday moments, even as repetitive and mundane that they sometimes may seem. I don’t just want to enjoy the moments, but truly enjoy and cherish the people in my life as well. It’s so true, whether you’re referring to parenthood or life in general, the days are long, but the years are so short. They fly by. And, I want to look back on the years of my life and know without a doubt that I lived fully.
Doing my best
I don’t want my issues with MS and my health to allow me to live a life that is less than ordinary. Some days, yes, the fatigue and momentary issues may hold me back, and that’s ok...but the days that I feel the best, I want to make the most of those days. It’s remarkable to me, how even in death and sadness, there are still reminders of the beauty of life. It says something about the inherent goodness about life, despite the evil in this world. The world can knock us down, this disease can knock us down, but each day we are given another chance. I’m going to take every day and every chance I get, and while some days I may fall short, I’m going to do my best. That’s all we can do, right? There are ways to make something beautiful, valuable, and meaningful even in instances such as these, we just have to have the strength to find them.
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