On November 26, 2014, I was witness to something that I’m certainly not forgetting soon. I was witness to a woman taking her final breath.
I did not know this woman. I did not know her family. A young man ran into the doctor’s office waiting room and yelled that help was needed. Nobody moved, however. I got up and ran out there because I know CPR, and I knew that if I had to use it, I would and could. As I ran out of the waiting room, I turned the corner into the small, cold lobby and saw that older lady exhale one last time. Her daughter was in the arms of her husband, face buried in his chest sobbing. I am fairly sure that she did not know that her mother had yet passed. It was more of a scared, shocked cry. I stood there in frozen shock. I could not move. Medical personnel finally came out screaming to call 911. Nobody else in the small area did. I yelled that I would, and I did. It happened so quickly. All of it. The daughter and son-in-law went into the waiting room to make phone calls. I remained inside the lobby for whatever reason. Again, frozen in shock.
I was asked by a member of the doctor’s office if I was waiting to see the doctor. I nodded and quietly answered, “yes.” She excused me from the lobby and said I could go inside waiting room and wait. It seemed forever for the ambulance to come. Everything seemed in slow motion from that very second it began. As I sat in the waiting room, I had tears streaming from my eyes. I knew she was dead. Again, I also really believed the daughter was not 100% sure. The medical personnel called the daughter and son-in-law back into the lobby after working on this unknown woman. The double doors opened, and I heard the wailing of reality for that daughter. I cried harder. The daughter had become fully aware that she would not have her mother for Thanksgiving that very next day.
Wailing. Wailing. Wailing.
May that woman rest in peace.
Since that moment, I have had many replays of that moment in my head as if it has been looped to repeatedly play.
I have been thinking a lot about life and death since this most recent experience. I was hit with great reality right in the face that at any split second our spirits could be released from our bodies. Our bodies could become limp before a next breath could be taken. It scared me, at first. My thoughts turned to how precious life really is. We are so not promised that next breath that we assume we will possess until we are quite old.
I started thinking about my own life and how it has been a wild roller coaster ride for the past 46 years. What I have learned is that it is not about me. What I have learned is that my life becomes fuller as I become “lesser.” I am hardly so outside of myself that I do not have moments of selfishness. I am not proud of that, but I also understand that I am human. I do understand, however, that my life is more about what I want. It is more about what I believe I need.
I have also had experiences this past week where a friend has wanted to give up. To not exist any longer. I did what I thought I was spiritually commanded to do. I helped him as much as I could. I was afraid. I could not imagine him dying without knowing that he is loved, cared about, important. Other friends and I made sure that he was fully aware of those things.
At the moment, he is safe. He made that choice. I am so grateful.
We do not always have that choice, though.
Before we take our last breaths, we need to take care of our words. We need to take care of our souls. We need to take care of those who will be left behind when our times come. We are responsible for loving others. We are responsible for loving ourselves so that we CAN love others. I am not saying we are responsible for what anyone else does with that love. We were given hearts and souls so that others could experience them.
How do you want to share your heart and soul with others? It really only takes a simple act or gesture. It does not have to be spectacular. I say this with confident knowledge. When you take your one last breath, will you have done everything you could have to love people? To let people know that they have worth? It is not too late to start.
God has a plan for you. For me. For all of us. We may never understand it, but I believe there is a plan.
May God bless you.
You are loved!