While life on hospice has become more normal for me, I still have the feeling that I am “living on the edge.” Today is all I really have for certain and I need to live each day with that in mind. While my strength is waning a little each day, signs of the inability of my heart not being able to pump blood to my extremities point toward heart failure and I face a heart attack at any time. I realize that tomorrow may not be mine to live and therefore make sure to tell my loved ones every day of my love for them and thank them for their loving care for me. And I try to live each day as fully as I can—not knowing whether I will have another one. I am blessed that I have this foreknowledge of my condition so I can prepare, as many do not have that foreknowledge. Others are not so blessed.
But as I look at this dangerous world in which we live I think all of us are in a similar position to mine. Illnesses strike us down unexpectedly; terrorists set off car bombs or blow themselves up in large crowds; automobile accidents snuff out lives quickly and without warning; we are gunned down by bullets meant for others but we are unluckily in their path or a deranged shooter chooses the place we are in to open fire —it may be a shopping mall, a movie theater, a school or a church. It seems that we are not safe anywhere!
The principle is the same or all of us—without warning we and our loved ones lives may be snuffed out.
So when we tell our loved ones goodbye in the morning we need to tell them that they are loved That may be the last time we have a chance to do so Death is so final—-it erases any attempt we might wish we had to express our love; to express our need for forgiveness; to express our own forgiveness to those we love.
That is the life we all live as we are “living on the edge”. We may not think the phrase applies to us, but it does. Give your husband, your wife, your children, your mother and father, your grandchildren and your siblings the love you feel for them every chance you are given because, like it or not we are all “living on the edge” every day.
May we build our lives as the French writer Stephen Grellet (1773-1855) wrote:
I shall pass thru this world but once.
Any good I can do or any kindness I can show another human being
Let me do it now.
Let me not deter or neglect it—
FOR I SHALL NOT PASS THIS WAY AGAIN.