An on-set of shortness of breath when climbing the stairs, a strange rapid heartbeat with a simple manual task, an experience of chest pain at night ~ all these made me extra anxious last night. In bed, I lingered on memories of people I know who were around my age dying without saying goodbye. Around this time last year, a 49-year-old friend, the husband of a college best-friend suddenly died of an aneurysm.
It was a different kind of impending doom last night. I was wondering if I would still wake up. Maybe this is a normal passing phase. There is nothing embarrassing about fearing death but I can choose not to let this fear consume me.
Last night before sleeping, my prayer was different. I surrendered myself to God in case I don’t get to wake up anymore. I asked forgiveness for all my sins and entrust all to his mercy. I slept less fearful. It was one of those rare moments of complete surrender.
The next thing I remember is hearing my alarm clock. Half-awake I smiled. I thanked God. I am still alive. I kind of see God smiling also, teasing me about uselessly worrying.
Musing on death at 50 when one has these physiological signs is normal. It’s important that I am in touch with my body. If I need to, I will later consult a doctor.
Pausing as I write is a way of re-setting my inner vault. I know death will come and it is something I have no control over although I can also try to eat mindfully to lower my cholesterol! 🙂 Knowing that there is a LIMIT makes me cherish life in a way I never did in my younger years. I feel a stronger nudge to use “wisely” my remaining years on this side of life. It inspires me to practice concrete loving actions, not to keep resentments, not to hold any prejudice, ill-will, or any other negativities around me. In the light of a limited life-span, what are those toxic energies for?
I will always have uncharitable actions and dark/ugly thoughts, words and feelings but in my desire to simplify and live in gratitude and serenity I will keep choosing to re-set by forgiving myself, others, situations (and sometimes even God).
“Be happy. You never know how much time you have left.”
I have no idea how much time I still have but nearing 50 I can say that I already had a long life. I have outlived Eugene twice over. My brother who opted out.
My nephews and nieces are now transitioning from being kids to their late teens. I am currently privy, especially with the girls’ struggles with self-image, self-worth, loneliness, break-ups and all other battles typical in their age. Thanks to their social media accounts, and their choices not to put me on restricted privacy setting, I am somehow given access to their lives. Witnessing where they are now, I also see my younger self in the 80’s. The blunders I myself did back then allows me to empathize rather than judge.
A niece in her 20’s is now in a relationship with another girl. She claims to be bisexual. The quiet one among my three older nieces, an introvert, she came to see me with her “friend” to “come out.”
Choosing to be loving rather than right, I hugged her as an assurance that I love her even if I cannot yet comment on her being bisexual. I would have wanted her to be a heterosexual and give long reasons why her choice will complicate her life but then she came to seek acceptance and not advice. I wanted her to be at ease with who she is, without needing to defend her choices nor feel unacceptable because of who she loves.
For now, I can only pray and beg for a miracle that one day she falls in love with a man. But even if she remains who she is now, I will choose to be at peace with that. I do not support same-sex relationships but it is not for me to decide who she should be.
I was thinking of all these last night and it came to me that eventually I will disappear from their lives and they will continue on their journey. Like me, I believe they too will have a beautiful life ahead of them in a packaging that God knows will be best for each one. It will not be without “dark-moments” but they will graciously survive as I myself did all these years.
I have been gifted with a long life, solid friendships, peace, contentment, gratitude, self-forgiveness, mercy – in a place, a home, a Community, I have never ever imagined nor expected. I fully believe that God will do the same for them because all of us are HIS BELOVED.
And these are my reflections after worrying of dying in my sleep last night.