Below are some of the key lessons I learned from her as she began to embrace death in the final days and weeks of her life. These are simple (although not easy) reminders for each of us about how to live life more fully:
1. Express Yourself:Say what you have to say, don't hold things back. As my mom got closer to death, she began to express herself with a deeper level of authenticity and transparency. We had conversations about things we'd never talked about and she opened up in ways that were both liberating and inspiring. Too often in life we hold back, keep secrets, and don't share what's real -- based on our fear of rejection, judgment, and alienation. Expressing ourselves is about letting go of our limiting filters and living life "out loud."
2. Forgive:My mom and I come from a long line of grudge holders. Like me, she could hold a grudge with the best of 'em. I watched as she began to both consciously and unconsciously let go of her grudges and resentments, both big and small. It was if she was saying, "Who cares?" When you only have a few months (or weeks) to live, the idea that "Life's too short," becomes more than a bumper sticker or a catch phrase, it's a reality. And, with this reality, the natural thing for us to do is to forgive those around us, and ourselves.
3. Live With Passion: Going for it, being bold, and living our lives with a genuine sense of passion is so important. However, it's easy to get caught up in our concerns or to worry what other people will think about us. My mom, who was a pretty passionate woman throughout her life, began to live with a deeper level of passion, even as her body was deteriorating. In her final days and weeks, she engaged everyone in conversation, talked about what she was passionate about, shared grandiose ideas, and let go of many of her concerns about the opinions of others. It was amazing and such a great model and reminder of the importance of passion.
4. Acknowledge Others:At one point about a month or so before my mom died she said to me, "It's so important to appreciate people ... I don't know why I haven't done more of that in my life." Even in the midst of all she was going through and dealing with (pain, discomfort, medication, treatment, and the reality that her life was coming to an end), she went out of her way to let people know what she appreciated about them -- and people shared their appreciation with her as well. My friend Janae set up a "joy line" for people to call and leave voice messages for my mom in her final days. We got close to 50 of the most beautiful messages, all expressing love and appreciation for my mom -- most of which we were able to play for her before she passed away. Appreciation is the greatest gift we can give to others - and, we don't have to wait until we're dying to do it or until someone else is dying to let them know!
5. Surrender:While my mom clearly wasn't happy about dying, didn't want to leave us or her granddaughters, and felt like she had more to do on this earth, something happened about a month and a half before she died that was truly remarkable -- she surrendered. For my mom, who had a very strong will and was a "fighter" by nature, this probably wasn't easy. However, watching her surrender to what was happening and embrace the process of dying was truly inspirational and life-altering for those of us around her and for her as well. So much of the beauty, healing, and transformation that occurred for her and for us during her dying process was a function of surrendering. Surrendering isn't about giving up, giving in, or selling out, it's about making peace what is and choosing to embrace life (and in this case death) as it shows up. Our ability (or inability) to surrender in life is directly related to the amount of peace and fulfillment we experience.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.