How do you plan to spend your final hours on this planet?
Most of us don’t give this a lot of thought, assuming, I suppose, that we’ll make a graceful exit, surrounded by loved ones as we gently slip the bonds of our mortal existence. But death has its own peculiar, often cruel, agenda. That makes it all the more precious when we are allowed to depart on our own terms.
This point was poignantly made recently by a couple unrelated, yet similar instances.
In the first, a high school classmate of mine spent his Christmas season in the hospital, sitting at the bedside of his mother, who hadn’t awakened following hip surgery. He shared the experience his vigil through a series of e-mails. Although it was apparent she wasn’t going to recover, the sweet scent of freshly cut flowers filled her room and the soft music of the holiday season washed over her as she was surrounded by family and friends.
After she died on Christmas Day, my friend wrote “The presence of her Heart residing in mine – and yours – will be her most precious legacy.”
The second instance involved marketing guru and networking expert Keith Ferrazzi, who faced a similar experience with his Aunt Rose. After flying cross country, he arrived in time to join a guitar-playing nutritionist in singing Christmas carols to his aunt, before writing:
“Then at 2:37 today, just as Aunt Rose brought those she touched so much peace during her life, Rose died in peace and once again gave all of us in that room a gift I’ll never forget. I learned to live a little better today. In death, I saw what matters in life, and I want more of it. We all deserve it and we can have it.”
My friend Stefani Twyford, who alerted me to the Ferrazzi situation, did a nice post of her own in which she expresses the value of finding our true home. Stefani also makes the point that we should all document the important moments in our life as soon as possible after the event to preserve the intimate details that can be lost over time.