For some people death comes at the end of a long and happy life, without pain, with preparedness and with an abundance of love and friendship.
For many others death is sudden, inelegant and devastating to those left behind.
While I was in hospital a young man, maybe early 30’s passed away from a brain aneurysm. His family were devastated, of course.
Public hospital is not a place for secrets and I heard one of the family say, “If I had only know the last time I saw him was going to be the last time…”
Wow, what a gut punch that delivered. And it led me to think…
What if we approached every interaction, every activity, every experience as if it were the last time we were going to do it?
I wonder if you would squeeze harder, hold on longer and say “I love you” with just a bit more emphasis.
I wonder if you would kiss deeper, touch more gently, reach out more.
I wonder if you would linger longer to watch the end of the sunset instead of just the beginning, pause until you were so cold you could no longer stay out, or fill your eyes and your lungs with images so beautiful and air so wonderful that you felt so fucking alive it surpassed anything you had experienced before.
I wonder if you would put down your phone, ignore the temptation of a thousand photos and just watch, dance, jump, fly, swim, smile just because you can, not because it needed to be recorded and published.
I wonder if you would care less about what people who don’t matter think of you, do that thing you have never done before, expand the comfort zone or blow it out of the water.
I wonder if you would put aside perceived slights and wrongs and hurts and see the fear that may have created that and respond with love?
If we knew it would be the last time we would see this person how would we be?
If it were the last time we would visit this place we love what would we do?
If it were the last time we would experience this thing that brings us joy how differently we would react?
Of course, right now I am feeling hyper alive. All my friends are saying to me how glad they are to see me standing up. How wonderful it is that I lived through this. And I do feel really connected to them, and the world around me.
Time will tick on though and life will continue. It’s up to me to make sure that I am doing everything I can to immerse myself into the goo and wonder that is living.
I have thought about the many things that I have already done for the last time. All the kisses, the drinks, the times I’ve driven, flown or sailed into a place, the hugs, the words of love and the words of hate. And it collapses me. So many of them I want do overs for but I will never get that opportunity.
I wonder if at the time I was thinking, “this is the last time…” Would I have done it differently?
It Works the Other Way
And you know it works the other way too.
What if this were the last time I let that person speak to me that way? Cop that toxic shit from them?
What if this is the last time I show up at that dead end job where I am not appreciated, supported, nurtured and encouraged?
What if this was the last time I ate this crap, smoked this poison, drank this swill, ingested this modifier of feelings or allowed this scumbag person to deride me?
What if this was the last time I ever lived below my full potential?
None of us knows what’s on the other side. Even if you’ve contemplated what heaven and hell might be its highly unlikely we’ll have a physical being sitting in a cloud somewhere basking in the glory of whomever you believe in.
Most likely this is it. This is our opportunity as a physical being to love and laugh and see and feel and make our mark however big or small that may be.
And what if it’s your last time…
Written by Peter Spann
Peter Spann – Film Maker | Director | Business Coach | Writer | Public Speaking Coach | Presenter | Investor.
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