***Almost every night I get inspired to write just before I go to bed. In fact, I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve thought through — every word — in my head as I lay in bed just not quite willing to make the effort to get up and type it out. Thinking I’ll surely remember all of this in the morning, only to remember none of it. Well, tonight I’m actually going to do it. And since summer vacation starts after just four more school days, meaning no more getting out of bed at 7:35 every day to get the kids out the door, I may continue to do these late nights posts just because I can. Here’s what conspired and was inspired as I got ready for bed tonight:
Dying well means living well.
As I hope and think more and more about working in palliative care, I think that in order to die well you have to have lived well.
Tonight as I walked into the bathroom, after turning the lights on just for a second in the kids’ rooms to get a look at their sleeping faces, I thought, “When did I get this old?” That quickly lead to, “What will I be like when I’m old?”
I’ve often bemoaned that I am not a senior. That I am not retired. They always say youth is wasted on the young, and I always think retirement is wasted on the old. Maybe it’s because I spent my early years with my grandparents who spent hours playing games with me and took time to make the snacks and napkins look nice on the tray on which they brought them out. But I wish I could be retired.
Unfortunately, somedays I’m incapable of even sitting down and relaxing. There’s always so much to do. So much left undone! I will be the worst senior citizen ever!
I know determing what “living well” and “dying well” means is pretty difficult. I’m sure there are many PhD dissertations on the subject (or at least there should be!). But I know those two are linked. How can you lay down something that you’re not satisfied with? How hard is it to say goodbye to unfinished business? And, conversely, how can you not lay down with grace what you have lived with grace? For living well also means dying well.
I don’t want to be so non-chalant to say that death happens “with ease”. But I think that this thing — this death that we fight, that we try to avoid at all costs, that we don’t even like to think about (we can’t even imagine it!) — can be done well. In fact, I have seen it.
I don’t understand right now and I’m sure I never will. But I have a hunch that, strange and contradictory as it may sound, letting go of your life is easier if you’ve lived it well.
That’s all for tonight folks! Sleep well!