I have known since I was in my twenties that life is fleeting. Working in hospitals, having the honour to be at a person’s last breaths with their family surrounding them or in some cases just hospital staff bear witness to those last breaths. All the trappings of life fall away to just that moment.
There is a peace in that moment. There is the realization that things that we think are important, money, power and climbing the ladder to success, fall away. There is bargaining for more time, or a prayer to end the suffering. We hope to see the people who mattered to us in life and hope that we mattered to them too.
This knowledge has changed me. My parents both died young and still years later I think of all they missed. Sixteen great grandchildren and counting, family dinners, weddings, lazy days and busy ones too. They are always with me and in this manner, live still.
We have no guarantee as to the number of days that we have left. We live far into the future, though the ground shifts like teutonic plates. We plan for years, though in a blink of an eye, time is whittled down to seconds, days or months. Our plans shift to this new reality, and life is stripped to its basic.
We hold each other a little closer, the sky bluer, the sun brighter. We take a breath and then another because we can. Our bucket list shifts, we remove items that aren’t possible anymore and look at the list closely. Is any of it really necessary?
We hope we have made a difference, that one person breathed easier just because we existed. That we left our mark, were good people, someone to count on in a pinch. We say sorry to the people that we have wronged, accept an apology from those who wronged us and live with a clean slate.
I’ve lived this life since my twenties. I know that life is fleeting–really know. Somedays I’m better at this, somedays I fall short of the mark. Still, it is a gift to know.