A year or two ago, I got to know a fellow who knew he was dying. He had a condition that necessitated the requirement of some embarrassing assistance, and I’ve seen that decline in quality of life really play on a person’s sense of well-being. But this fellow, he was happy, almost all the time.
After he passed, the family distributed cards of thanks he’d written to hospital staff. The gist of it was, “Thank you for the excellent care. I have been incredibly blessed in life, by family and friends. I have counted these blessings ever since I returned from (a war), alive. I have considered every day and every person since, “bonus time”. I got nearly 60 years of bonus time, I am incredibly lucky.”
I’ve been thinking about this fellow a lot lately.
While I was visiting my Mom last year, we were parked in the car, looking out at the waterfront. She said abruptly, “I think the happiest time of my life was when I was teaching adults. That’s the funny thing about life, you don’t really know you’re happy until it’s gone.”
It fucking broke my heart. I didn’t know what to say.
I consider the last two visits I got with my Mom, and our phone conversations, “bonus time”. She could have died the night they found the brain tumour. She didn’t though, and we all got some more time together. I’m so grateful for that, and I am glad I had the chance to hear her say she didn’t recognize her happiest years while she was living them, whether it was something she felt all the time, or something she thought just in that moment, I’m glad I heard her say it, since she wanted to say it. It’s how she felt. That’s just as real and legitimate as being grateful for every day, good or bad.
Sweetie and I were talking, and we’ve both had some scary exit points in our lives. I, like most people, survived a brush with death thanks to luck, guardian angels and maybe a choice on the part of my higher self that I wasn’t done yet, or confirmed I wanted to keep going. Why shouldn’t I consider all of my life since to be “bonus time”?
I think I will. Things are so good for us right now. No one is sick. We both have jobs and businesses we enjoy. We have a reliable vehicle and freedom. We have a loyal, loving human and animal family. I’ve been wishing lately that there was a “PAUSE!” button on my life so we could just enjoy this time without worrying what the next challenge will be, because there’s always another challenge.
I was also aware that this worrying about when the next shoe would drop was actually interfering with my enjoyment of right now. So let’s just forget all that. Forget how short-lived or fleeting the good years can be. Maybe we’re even living the happiest years of our life, right now! I don’t want to waste a second of it… It’s bonus time.
We’re lucky to be alive.