What if…


Watching a documentary last evening titled, “The Last Days of Extraordinary Lives”, I realize that I am a bit of an odd ball.   Since we cancelled our cable and we are now exclusively using Netflix and the apps on our smart TV, I am attempting to make more educated decisions about what I am feeding into my mind.

Nights by Julie Hryniewicz

My husband was working night shift and this documentary caught my attention, even though it is likely not on the top of everyone’s weekend movie list.

With a few tears along the way, the film featured individuals, their families and caregivers in the hospice and medical field, sharing wisdom about life from and about people who were in transition to death.  I suppose the draw for selecting this title was because I am always curious about how to live life to the fullest and it is helpful to gather any information that assists in the practical application for doing this.

It was certainly helpful to hear the simplicity of how people think when they are nearing death or their loved ones were approaching death.  They weren’t rushing around and they appeared calm and grounded.  Spirituality and family were their most prominent focus.  For some, they were told they would die years before and have continued to survive.  Others were in end stages, towards death.  One was a young toddler and the story was from the perspective of her parents.

Childhood Memories with Julie Hryniewicz

There were two things in common with each of stories and the theme repeated, over and over again.  All felt that what was really important was time with their family, loved ones and support network. Some regretted their past addictions and the toll it took on their health and their families.  For the most part though, their stories were about laughter, memories, quiet listening, chatting, sharing time, celebrating moments and being with one another, in their final days.

Angel by Julie Hryniewicz

The second thing in common was a strong spiritual connection to a higher power.  All seemed to accept the fate that was imminent and headed their way, with grace, patience, peace, understanding and some, with hopeful anticipation.  It was almost calming to listen to their words as they told their tales and shared their thoughts about what was to come.  I heard gratitude.  I heard joy.  I heard love.  I heard nurturing.  I heard compassion.  I heard acceptance.  I heard kindness.  I heard healing.

Even though I will likely be the last person asked to pick the next family movie to watch, I am glad that I took the time to hear some of these stories.  I was a bit perplexed that some of them were still smoking cigarettes on their death beds, but I get that they were trying to enjoy every last minute that they had on this planet.

What if you were on your death bed?  Would you reach out, connect, heal, talk with, apologize, forgive or say anything that you haven’t already said?  Is there anything left to resolve in your life?  Is there anything you would do to prepare?  Is there anything that you would do differently, to enjoy the time you had left?

Doing some of these things now, may add value, energy, healing, companionship, joy and peace to our lives.  The bad news, though, is that we have no idea when we will transition to our next great adventure.  The good news is that you can switch things up at any time and hopefully, these are all hypothetical questions.

Reflection by Julie Hryniewicz

“Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons.” ~ Ruth Ann Schabacker