I’m just 28 years old, but my health has been rapidly declining. My doctor told me I only have a few more months. I have finished planning my funeral, down to the exact perfume I will be wearing.
The first time we met, he said, “If only we could have made the diagnosis sooner.” I watched his lips move in slow-motion, blurring every word that followed.
I want to leave this earth knowing I gave back more than I took. And I selfishly want to validate my own life by improving yours, frantically, fearfully. I know my contributions pale in comparison to my debts.
When you see the end of your life, the fog suddenly clears and you know what things are truly most important. You’ve probably heard this already. I too have read stories of others preparing to leave this earth. As I assume they did, I stand and stare death in the face.
These are the insights and realizations I have to offer. My only hope is that as my life closes, I am able to open another’s.
Death cured my blindness.
My husband and my children do not see death; they see the shadow of a monster. They despise the shadow. They fear the shadow.
I used to live in a reality where I looked to the future in a mistaken sense. I planned for the future — for myself, my children, and my husband. My black and white future had assumed understandings of the past and the present. I could contextualize and place myself into any of these three locations.
Death has allowed me to escape from myself. From my future planning. From my black-and-white time. I see possibility. I feel awake. I can escape from myself.
I see myself as an actor in a grand narrative. You should too.
Now I realize that death does not fit our mold.
Death has no relation to anything I can understand. Death is not the “running out” of life. Death cannot be understood by watching another human’s death. This death is mine, and mine alone.
All around me, they claim I am not going through this alone.
But I am. Death is really a perspective of the here and now. A perspective that we can only experience individually. My death is an event that only I can, and only I will, experience.
Someday, you will die as well.
Stop talking about death like it is in the future.
Death was not scribbled on your calendar years ago and left ignored. We see death as a long-off and natural fact of life to such an extent that nobody dies, we all die. If death is gold, we have debased it beyond recognition.
I wish I could have lived my whole life as I am living these last days. I do not dread death. I now see death for what it truly is. Death allows you to see the total absence of your own existence. For the first time, through this lens I have been able to observe every aspect of my potential to be.
Death is the outline of every area of life that we are willing to explore.
Take responsibility and control of your life.
Your death will encompass the whole of your existence. When I look at death, I think it must be similar to taking a trip to outer space. Leave earth for a while — go into space and look back at the size of our world.
From outer space, how large are your fears?
Never let people’s opinions of you control your life. Never change your mind because someone calls you a name. If you have a new idea, pursue it with everything that you have. Never wait to change your bad habits. And definitely, don’t make excuses.
Love those who are close to you.
Before I came to terms with my diagnosis, I was most devastated about my children. One reason I chose to homeschool was so that I could give to them. Soon, I will be taking from them.
I would do anything to stay with them. My family and friends have been an endless supply of love, support, and encouragement. Never, ever, ever, take these people for granted.
This is where I will end my reflection, because it is also where I plan for my story to end. I want nothing more than to spend my final moments with the people I cherish.