As I shared with you, in previous posts, last weekend was one of the happiest in recent memory, as my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary at the Disneyland for Debutantes, the 5 Star Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena (celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014).
Amidst these happy celebrations, we were coming to grips with the demise of our niece’s husband of 44 years and ultimately, his extremely untimely and sudden death on Wednesday of this past week.
These events which were sandwiched into a period of about 10 days have served to remind me that there is nothing so precious as our loved ones – and that the shocks of the end of life are always present in our lives, or in the periphery of our lives, however happy and full they seem at the moment.
This dark and unsettling reminder is just a poke, like a “poke” on FB (I have never really understood what that is, but have enthusiastically poked the poker back in response). “Hey, I’m here. Don’t stop what you are doing, but just know that I’m out here and I think of you occasionally, and I’m letting you know that I can reach you when I need to.”
Having been poked by death this week has been instructive. Devastating, but instructive. I have learned this week to:
1. Live your life with the intention of making every day count. Remove obstacles that get in the way of each day’s mattering to you.
2. Let your loved ones know you are thinking of them before tragedy strikes, or even begins to circle them. Letters, postcards, hugs when possible are recommended.
3. Plan ahead. Get your affairs in order. No matter how young you are, it is critical that you share your end of life intentions with your loved ones, parents, children, whoever will be in charge should something unexpected happen to you.
4. Bring as much joy into your life as is possible. Do this in whatever way makes you the happiest – attending cultural events, watching a football game, going for a long walk and talking over important things with a friend, eating chocolates and watching the Foresyte Saga. (yes, that’s what we did last night.)
5. Breathe. Laugh. Cry. Frequently and with gusto.