“If you live well, you will never have to worry about dying. You can do that even if you have only one day to live………To live well means basically to learn how to love.”
She was just a little girl, skipping down the snowy sidewalk proudly wearing her new red wool winter jacket, catching snow flakes on her tongue, pinching her exposed wrist as she checked to see if she was really alive.
This is a dear friend who tells me almost every hour of each day of her life, she reminds herself: ultimately life is about dying. She pinches herself to check to see if she is still alive. “Me,”she says. “This is Me.”
She tells me she wakes up in the morning amazed she is still here. And she ends the day grateful that she might be going to have yet another night of blessed sleep and precious dreams. She has been doing this since early childhood.
She isn’t frightened. She’s just cognizant. I must ask her if she thinks she knows how to love.
I think of an exquisite new-born baby. Pure love and innocence. In one day an infant gives us a reason to love and an opportunity to witness the sacredness of life. We are so deeply gifted. We must remember what gifts we have and how we can best share them with others. We also must remember how to let love touch us. Harvelle Hendrix teaches that if you can not accept love, welcome love for yourself, take it in and embrace the joy, you can not truly give love. Again, I think of the new-born baby. Who knows better than an infant how to just absolutely soak up all the love in the world?
Well, Aimee, the cutest puppy on the planet certain can teach us all a good lesson in laying back and letting love in, snuggling up close and insisting on head and belly rubs. Babies and beloved pets teach us about loving.
Often times we find it difficult to lead with love. I am quick to react. I am quick to say what I believe: lead with love; and I am wont to forget and react with something else, often times fear or anxiety. Remember that we came into this life knowing how to love; we were pure blissful love.
When Kubler-Ross speaks of only one day, she could be referring to a new-born who lives only one day and in that day has reminded us of the purity and blessedness of life. Maybe that was the entire meaning of that infant’s life. Job done and certainly done well.
But she could also be referring to having only a short time left to live. There is still time to learn to love, even in one blessed day. What would loving others look like if you had only a few days left to let them know that you love them?
For Clo, my life partner for 23 years, ( who was told she had 6 weeks to live and courageously took 2 years), love looked like creating beauty in our back yard. She filled the yard with a profusion of flowers, she bought a bird feeder and welcomed all sizes and colours of flighty, happy little birds who swam and drank in the fountain and ate at the feeder. She brought warm smiles to those of us who wanted to help take care of her and she continued to enjoy sharing a glass of good red wine. She dressed smartly and sometimes wrapped her head in a colourful scarf and sometimes proudly showed off her shiny bald head. She graciously and with dignity let herself be taken care of. Clo died being pure love.
My friend who thinks of dying so much of the time may be wasting time meant for living. She thinks she is preparing herself so it won’t come as a surprise. I’m not sure it works that way.
Time goes so quickly. Life is to be celebrated, embraced, respected. We may or may not get another chance. But what a sadness to waste this one when there is so much that is lovely and loving to be shared.
- I am grateful I was able to graceful shift gears when I had an early morning last-minute cancellation today.
- I am grateful for a large pot of delicious home-made chicken and vegetable soup I made yesterday.
- I am grateful for friends with whom I can share ideas, time, food, hugs.
- I am grateful for my adult children and the various ways they each have of showing their love.
May the sun shine on your face and the birds sing in your heart. Nancy