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Death sentence (or paragraph…)

You never know when you are going to die. Until you do. Then you start pulling yourself together. Then you start cleaning up and hunkering down. Then life develops a clarity it never had before.

But you always knew. You always knew that this day would come. This day, the day the doctor told you that you were going to die. How long do you have? Three months? Three weeks? Three years?

Perhaps your first clue that you were mortal came from when your parents died. You were young, just out of college. Or you were middle aged, with children of your own to manage. You didn’t have time then to deal with it, but you did. You somehow managed to work in the extra work that is involved in handling an estate. You just did it, because it had to be done.

Perhaps your second clue came when you found that spot – that spot that made you go to the doctor. You thought it might be cancer, and you started wondering what you were going to do, how you were going to manage. You found out it was something simple – for now. It could be cut out or burned off or you could take a course of medicine and you were done.

But now, now there is no turning back. Now it is for real. You’ve had your second opinion. You’ve had your third opinion. Now you can’t turn away from this because it is in your face and it is holding you hostage and you feel like you can’t breathe.

And all you want to do is live.

But that is all you have done. You’ve had your life to live, and you’ve wasted it. You’ve spent it up. You’ve decorated your house and gone to tea parties and read your books and that is it. What have you done that made a difference? What have you done that has made the world better? What change have you made? Who will remember you when you were gone? Whose life was made better because of you?

Have you spent your life for yourself, or for others? Have you been true to the person you were born to be? Have you really lived, I mean really?

Because there is a difference between being alive, and living.

You say you don’t have time, but that is all you have had. Too late now to cry about it. Too late now to feel cheated. The only person who has cheated you is yourself.

Wait. Here is a reprieve. They were wrong. For now. What will you do? Back to the same old habits?

Start, right where you are. Begin. Begin again. Renew. Revive. Reassess. Strip down everything to the bare bones. Look at now, and the future.

Where do you want to be? Start heading there.

Life is short. Death is coming. Be mindful. Be awake. Be alive, really alive. Live every day with intention and meaning. Leave nothing undone. Enjoy your food and your friendships. Work on that project you’ve been putting off. Make peace.

Because one day, there won’t be a tomorrow.

Instead of this filling you with fear, let it add savor to your life. Make it add meaning. Aim for your goals.

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