No one likes to think about death – theirs or anyone else’s. But every day, we are all closer to death than we were the day before.
The Gift of a Day
Every day is a gift. The harsh reality is we are not guaranteed another moment on this earth beyond the present one. “Carpe Diem (seize the day).“ “Live each day as if it were your last.“ “Live like you were dying.“ All remind us to live each day to the fullest. To pursue life with gusto, dream big, take chances, make the most of every opportunity.
What if we flipped our focus? Rather than fixating on ourselves, what if we lived every day like it’s THEIR last. Everyone you love, all the people you hold dear – your spouse, parents, children, grandchildren, friends. Live each day like it is their last because it very well could be.
We wouldn’t be so eager to have the last word, to win the argument, to rush out the door without stopping to say, “I love you.” We would slow down and savor the small moments, find joy in the mundane day to day because today might be their last.
As we are walking out a terminal diagnosis and hospice with my mom, God has given me revelations on the gift of awareness and the gift of time. I still believe we serve a God of miracles, and God may very well heal my mother. But she is at peace; we are at peace knowing she is heaven-bound. We will see her again and be there with her for eternity.
The Gift of Awareness
Being aware that mom’s time on earth is short is a gift. While not easy, the awareness of her impending death has shown me the importance of using the time we have. As a family, we have decided to maximize the moments we have been given – making memories; reminiscing the good times and resolving any undealt with issues from the past; laughing, crying, just being together.
While I was not oblivious to the fact before, this gift of awareness has brought into clear focus an even bigger picture. ALL our deaths are impending and imminent.
Today, when I see my mom it could be the last time. Any morning might be the final time I send my husband off to work with a kiss and an “I love you.” The next hug from my son could be the last one ever. The coffee (or tea, in my case) I had with a friend last week may have been the last time I see her this side of eternity.
The last words we speak, our last interactions need to be ones of love and peace. We should aim to resolve all conflict before we walk away or hang up the phone. Don’t let a momentary emotion stain that final encounter.
I don’t say this to incite fear or anxiety. I am sharing it as a wake-up call for us all. Since we don’t know when the last (kiss, hug, interaction) will happen, we should live EVERY day, every moment like it’s the last.
The Gift of Time
One blessing of a terminal diagnosis is we awaken to how precious time is. Every moment we spend together, every memory we make may be the last. But for right now, we have the gift of time.
This is true for every single person we know, though, not just those with terminal diagnoses. No one is immune to sudden death. Only God knows the number of our days. If we live every day like it’s their last, our chances of being left with regret after a loved one’s passing decrease dramatically.
So, since we are only promised this very moment in time, we can choose to be a little kinder, to be more compassionate and loving, to extend grace to others. To all you know and love, to everyone you encounter. Remember, each interaction may be the last you have with a person or the last one they ever have with any person.
Give one more smile, a farewell hug, a final kiss, a loving good-bye. Live each day as if it’s their last. Give those around you, especially your loved ones, the precious gift of your time today. Then if it is their last day, you have a beautiful memory to carry you through.
“Live each day like it’s THEIR last” offers a different but hopefully enlightening perspective to live each day to the fullest. Albeit, a little depressing from an earthly perspective, there is eternal hope.
If we (and our loved ones) are followers of Jesus, then each day moves us closer to eternity with God. If we are the ones left mourning after a “last day,” we can find comfort knowing the grief, loss, and separation is only temporary.
If we have loved ones who aren’t Jesus followers, we need to pray for their salvation and do what we can to show them the love of Jesus and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit while we are here on earth. Then they will be with God and with us for eternity. It would be my honor to pray for your loved ones who need salvation. Please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not a believer, I would love to talk with you about how you can have this eternal hope; please email me at email@example.com.
If you know anyone who has a loved one with a terminal diagnosis or would benefit from this encouragement or change in perspective, please share on social media or via email.