Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Today, as I filled out my Five Wishes form from Aging with Dignity, I was awash with emotion. A literal ocean of wave after wave of memories eroded the shoreline of my nerve as it ultimately became clear to me how the sand of time filters out the bottom of the funnel of our life. As in an hourglass, perhaps we are given a measured volume of sand with which we base our entire life on hoping it lasts longer than we can ever imagine. And yet each day the grains seep as seconds pass and we are no more aware of the remaining volume above as we are of the limit of the universe.
My point to all this is that while it took less than 45 minutes for me to read over the form’s questions and fill in the lines and spaces, my entire lifetime washed over me. All of the comic tragedy of life rose and fell like a tide in an eddy. I was once more an infant, then a child, a boy and a fool, a student and a laborer, a vagrant, a lover and a liar, a cheat and a friend, a Samaritan, a brother, an enemy, a parent, a husband, a nurse and a teacher. My thoughts pounded against the surf of time as voices echoed and visions in mind’s eye faded across the expanse of my life. I have seen death, as many of us do, and I have lost hope as many of us will. And through all the laughter, playfulness, successes, tears, pain, failures, losses and accomplishments, I have witnessed the truth in Ms. Angelou’s words. The ways people made me feel have tremendously impacted my life.
In our lives, we are each exposed to the love and hate/comedy and tragedy of reality. Strength of heart is free for those of us who chose to exercise it, with a kind word, a smile, a helping hand, and even a nod of recognition. Each individual act builds the endurance to face the fear and challenges of life.
Caring Choices knows that every one of us has experienced the vastness of this sea of emotion and harbor of love. We hope to allow you the opportunity to plan for when the hourglass empties and the last grains of time funnel down to what can be a most important and loving moment of each life. Preparing for the impact of our death on those who carry on may very well be the difference between a comic or tragic effect. Will there be laughter and love or anger and dissension?