Back from vacation – Friday Blogs are back – grin
Working the “Bucket List”
While away on vacation, recently, we met up with a couple a few years older than us that were doing the same activities on the same days that we were. So we spent about three days with this couple and became friends with them. They are an amazing couple.
The husband (I’ll call him Tom) has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. He was given three to five years to live. He is in the 5th year, and doing very well. To look at him, you would think he’s had a stroke, he has very little use of one side of his body. This will progress around his entire body until he passes from this earth. He is a prominent doctor who owns his own practice, which he is looking to sell because he struggles to work it these days. He is a proud man, who is also a humble man. I watched this gentleman allow his wife to lift him down some steps (that’s pretty humbling for a proud man).
What I find so encouraging is his attitude in all of this. He admitted to having suffered bouts of depression when first diagnosed – who wouldn’t, my goodness. Tom has come to terms with his own demise and is living what life he has left to its fullest. He is not sitting down and giving up. Tom & his wife are traveling… A LOT (grin). They have been to Africa, he has climbed to the base camp of Mt Everest, they go on cruises, they were just in Australia, (doing all the same activities we were doing – go TOM!) and they have many more places they want to go. Tom wants to see the world before he dies.
I never once heard Tom, or his wife, complain. They have accepted the situation and are living with it. They have adjusted their lifestyle to adapt to his health problems, but they are going on with their lives, they are not letting Tom’s illness slow them down. If anything, it has made them more active! He told us, “Travel while you’re young, don’t wait until it could be too late.”
I think you could consider Tom “lucky”. Strange statement isn’t it? However, Tom knows the number of his days, so he is now living his life to its fullest. Most of us do not know the hour that we will pass from this earth, so we trudge along with our to-do list, sometimes missing out on opportunities to do enjoyable things, or spend time with amazing people. Our busy lives get in the way of true enjoyment. Then one day – we’re gone. It can happen that quick. Now, I’m not saying quit your job, drop all your responsibilities and play all day. I am saying, find a balance. Call your spouse and do lunch in the middle of the week, make it to your children’s activities, go on vacation (even if it’s a “staycation”), take time to be with your loved ones, live your life.
I have known other people facing terminal illnesses, and am often amazed to see the grace they handle the situation with. I can only hope, if faced with the knowledge of my own imminent death, that I can handle it with the same acceptance and grace as I’ve seen in others.
What’s that song by Tim McGraw? Live like you were dyin’? Good point.