This evening my grandmother discovered that she is going to die.
We all know that one day, we know not when, we will die. Our lives will end in one way or another. To my knowledge, this is a known fact - each of us will die.
For some, this is a frightening thought. Most of us probably don't think about it much because it is the unknown and we are really too busy to consider something so abstract and distant. Others, like those with cancer, at some point come to terms with the reality that they could or will die - the cancer or other illness makes it that much more real; it moves it from the abstract to the finite.
My grandmother is 91. She is the last living member of her childhood family. She has six great grandchildren - or eight, depending on how she counts and four or five grandchildren... and she has traveled the world and enjoyed a full and challenging life.
In the next few days, she will consider the possibilities of treatment that may or may not be effective and for only a short period of time. Or she will look at the option of doing nothing, getting tired, and letting go.
She is fortunate in that what she has will end her life with no physical pain involved; just increasingly tired.
Facing mortality is not something easily done for many. It is difficult to wrap our minds and thoughts around the idea that we are here today and there is ... nothing tomorrow. It is the question of what happens when we die?Do we just... die? The coming to terms with the choices that we have made; the life we have lived; and the outcomes.
Until recently, I have lived my life very much aware of potentially not having tomorrow. I am not sure why I elected to take this idea to heart at an early age, but I did. And it could be a product of not knowing when or if I would be blind at some point. I might not have tomorrow; there might not be another chance to see . I learned to consider my heart quickly to know that the choices I made were those that were in keeping with my soul because there wouldn't be reason, time, or energy for regret.
If you feel it, say it... live fully in each moment because there really, really, might not be another. Don't wait to find out who you are tomorrow or decide to live your dreams next year - just do it - No time like the present.
And yet, considering the reality of death - of the situation in which my grandmother finds herself, I wonder if I really live as completely and totally as possible?
My grandmother is at peace with the choice she has made; my mom is at peace with the decision. They will spend the next few months sharing moments together and talking or sitting in silence; probably coming to terms with the challenges that have long been an aspect of their mother-daughter relationship.
I will learn from the choices made and remember the way I chose to live my own life years ago... and use this as a time to consider choices made and being made, a time to start unwrapping the layers and finding what lies beneath and within myself.