Thursday, April 4, 2013

Facing the future...thoughts on mortality and a death.

One never knows what is around the next corner and all we can do is plan as best we can and hope for the best.
The future that lies ahead, however long or short...
it is beyond our control and all we really can do is live as richly as we can in the moment,
the now, this very second.

Friends have mentioned those who have terminal illnesses and the stories of the recently departed.
Some taken before their time...
what we might consider "before their time"
meaning what?
That they were close to our age and we might feel nervous if we knew that we were in their shoes.

It could happen.
(Perish the thought)

Coming to terms with one's mortality feels a little least it does to me. I'm not ready!
I think "Oh when I'm 70 I'll consider it", or "maybe 80"
My Mother has not arrived at this place...
I don't think my Father did until he was told that he had a few days left to live.

Maybe we are never ready until the last minute
maybe it's months
or when we receive a diagnosis that kicks us in the gut and forces us to think long and hard about what we have done in our lives,
what is important,
what we may have wasted time doing,
what we could have done better...

What would you do if this was the last day of your life?
Who would you call?
Do you have any unresolved conflicts to resolve?
Is there someone you need to forgive?

I've been sitting here in The Humble Bungalow in the still and quiet and thoughts have been flowing free...
startling and awakening thoughts that so
many people struggle with health challenges everyday
and despite them they press on.

I am so humbled and feel immensely grateful for so many things in my life.

I am dedicating this post to Peg from Comox who lost her battle to cancer yesterday at 1:00...
she was a regular commenter and we emailed behind the scenes.
When she discovered my love of tea she sent me some delicious teas in the mail that were artfully blended in a Comox tea favourite was the Paris blend. In return I sent her a Kate Morton novel...

 Peg's husband sent me this picture of Peg yesterday and I thought how lovely it would be to post it here
in her memory...

Sheila from Ephemera and I had dinner with her and got a chance to spend some time in her company.
She was a gracious and inspiring woman...I am grateful that our paths crossed.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."

                                                            ~ Melody Beattie ~


  1. Oh, that's so sad about Peg. Great post and one that actually I've actually wondered when it would be brought up. We spend so much time (on the blogosphere) talking about aging gracefully, etc. - but not about the idea that as we age, mortality becomes so real. When I turned 60, and was a bit down about it - many friends said to me "but you look great" - that's not why I was down. It was the realization that most of my life has been lived.
    That's what felt sad to me. Now, I do as you suggest, and just try to cherish each day and feel gratitude for what I have right now, as we all know life can turn on a dime. Thank you Leslie for an outstanding post.

    1. Kathy - I tried to email you but it bounced back it seems I have your old one on file and not your new one, email me when you have a min - nothing exciting!

  2. So sorry to hear about your friend. She sounds like a lovely person.
    My sister-in-law passed away in January at the young age of 47. And an acquaintance of mine lost her life last week at 51. You just never know. I try to force myself to not worry and wonder about all the what ifs but it's not easy. I think we can only do the best we can to take care of ourselves the best we can and live our happiest, richest, and most fulfilling life now. Because NOW is all we really have.
    I agree with Kathy - this is a great post and I am glad you've brought it up for conversation. I have a feeling it's on the minds of many of your readers.
    Hugs to you and again, so sorry about Peg.

  3. Lovely thoughts, honor and tribute . . . We never know what is around the corner. Living with a grateful heart can only be "the best.". Great Melodie Beattie quote . . .

  4. So sorry about your friend, Hostess. You remind us all that we should be happy for what we have each day and cherish all those in our lives.

  5. What a very thoughtful post. I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. We (DH and I) lost all of our parents within a 5 year span, all taken from diseases as opposed to "ripe old age," so it did feel as though they were gone before their time. A friend (a few years younger than me) who has been in remission for a few years from a brain tumor posted recently on FB that a regrowth of the tumor has been found, an in an inoperable place. She's facing another round of chemo/radiation. But yes, all of this does bring home that we never know how much time we will be given.

  6. Wonderful post. How very sad about your friend. I wish there was a way to harness the now, to live as the Victorians did with memento mori, I'm sure some do this with meditation but I blunder through life and wish I could be more respectful of every day. A friend of my husband's has just been given months to live and a dark cloud is hanging over us now, I don't know how I would deal with that, I love this world.

  7. 'What would you do if this was the last day of your life?'

    And so for fun - I would order take out Chinese, I would eat everyone of those delicious greasy prawn crackers.
    I wouldn't have a single alcoholic drink as I would want to be present, I would smell flowers, stroke the bark of trees, sniff the grass, I would exercise till I felt my heart pounding in my chest, I would lie in the sunshine and let it soak into my bones, I would stare at the sky and I would scream,No, until my lungs exploded.

  8. So sad news about your friend. Death comes always as a surprise..
    Strangely I happened to listen ( just a few hours ago ) to a radio program about a TV series of five people, who have volunteered to share their last weeks for the camera.
    This series will come out in a series in the end of the month.
    In the radio program a nurse and the producer of the series were interviewed about the people and the terminal phase.
    Were the people afraid of death, were they ready for it?
    The producer revealed that privately many had thought about suicide along the route. Actually death did not scare them, in the very end, they were ready for it.
    But, before feeling ready, they wished to know that their near and dear ones would be fine, that everything needed to do , was done.
    I must say, that even this short interview / preview/ trailer of the serious series to be shown later on, did raise anxiety in me.
    Death is something, we find difficult to discuss about, although we all are to face it one day.
    Talking about death has been a tabu so very long, filled with mysteries.

    I too believe, that living each day as well as we can, taking care of our near and dear owns in the best way we can - not forgetting ourself - is how to go forward.

    Thank you Leslie for this post.

  9. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. Thank you for the lovely reminder to be grateful for each day and to live treating others with the same grace and mercy we hope to receive ourselves.


  10. Beautifully written...even though I didn't know her it is always terribly sad to hear of a loss.

  11. Very sorry to hear about your friend.

    I would do all those silly things that most people deem inappropriate or silly to do in front of people or by yourself (dance around and sing to music really loudly, laugh at cheesy videos/movie moments on Youtube, you know, that kind of thing). Experience every moment and the emotion. Actually I would probably do like Jackie O did when she knew the end was near - she apparently re-read all her old letters with her friend in front of the fireplace, tossed most of them into the fire (I think she kept a few for Caroline & John) and then summoned her family and friends to her apartment at 1040 5th whom she wanted to visit with for the last time - but only the ones she wanted to see.

    Nice photo Hostess!

  12. I have just finished a book where the topic was about suicide,and the Psychiatrist mentioned these people appeared to have the least fear of death,maybe because they have spent time thinking about it.

    My biggest fear would be to die without resolving certain issues,not always possible if it depends on others.

    So very sorry to hear about your friend,the web has opened our lives to cross/meet with some great women.Thank you Leslie for a great post on a thought provoking subject that many people fear to mention.Judith/Ida

  13. I feel my mortality every day now even though I'm just 61. My dad, just 22 years older than me, is gone. We should appreciate all that we can do and understand that all good things come to an end. Before I left for Paris, I started to read the book La Duchesse recommended "Never Say Die". I had a very good friend who lived in Cedar who received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 35. She was a woman filled with vitality and life who never saw her son grow up or knew the extent of what greatness she held inside her. We must all live as fully as we can.

  14. So sorry for your loss of your friend. Your post moved me to comment for the first time. Being of a similar age I can identify so clearly with this and so many of your posts, both serious and more frivolous. Please keep posting your beautiful and thought provoking words. Lynne in Australia.

  15. May she rest in peace. Sending you a warm hug , beautiful words today . You always give me food for thought and a very uplifting. Donna

  16. I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Peg. So much loss...but your writing is beautiful and thoughtful.

  17. oh i'm so sorry your friend lost her cancer battle. so sad leslie.

    i'm glad you were able to connect with her and it sounds as if you are richer for it.

    much love,

  18. Thank you for a beautifull and thoughtful post. You certainly certainly touched me with your words. Yes gratitude is a trait to be cherished and thought about everyday. I'm so sorry about your friend. We had a friend pass away shokingly recently. So dificult.

  19. Sorry for the loss of your friend Hostess. I see this every day as I work at a hospital, so I think about it often. I think that even in my forties, you never know what is around the corner. In my life I try to say to my family that I love them, and spend time with friends. I appreciate my blogging friends, and enjoy the small things, even in my own quiet life.

    I try to enjoy each day, and life at the moment without trying to worry too much about what the future holds. Who know's what tomorrow will bring.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    Julie Q

  20. i am so sorry to hear of your friends passing, life is a strange thing, the only certainty being it will end, it just hurts so much when it is someone you love and they go with you - i think the only wish i would ever have is that me, my man and all my beloved animals would all pass at exactly the same moment in time - sadly that will prob never be - have a good weekend and thanks for your lovely comments - so nice to see you again xx

  21. Hostess, I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I have also lost dear friends, some who died in their thirties--far too young. The experience leaves me with a sense of loss that never seems to fade. And yet, I am grateful to have had them in my life, even for too brief a time.


  22. Thank you again for letting me know about Peg. Our meet-up was a real highlight of last year. I'm grateful to have had that brief time with such a special lady. I've posted a small tribute to her as well today, linked up to you.

    This is a lovely post. Thank you.

  23. A heart-felt post. Thank you for it, as it give us much to ponder. So sorry about the loss of your friend.

  24. I'm sorry to read that you have lost your blog-friend/real-friend, Peg. The time is never really right for us to say goodbye, is it?
    The Great Dane and I talk often about end-of-life and saying goodbye. I don't know if it will make it any easier when the time comes - and I pray it will be years away! - but I do believe it helps both of us.

  25. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. I lost my dearest friend four years ago, last week. I miss her every day. Until grave illness or death touches you or yours intimatly, one can never understand how one will react. You would like to say that you want to die with a cigarette and glass of good champagne in your hand with all your loved ones around in a lovely nightgown and bed jacket (hair and makeup...perfect). Those thoughts are blessedly from those who have never been touched closely by this experience, yet. I'ts easy to say live each day to the fullest, but do we ever? Illness ansd death are never as you envision it...

  26. I came over via Sheila's blog and just wanted to say what a beautiful and thought-provoking post you have written. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend.

  27. I have lost a number of family members and friends who died "before their time." I learned that the only thing that really matters are our relationships with other people. Everything else is trivial.