This year someone I know is celebrating their ‘lasts’. Their last birthday, their last Easter, their last long weekend in June.
Odds are they will not see another one.
Odds are they will be “lucky” if they make it til Christmas.
Odds are a year of “lasts” is a wild roller coaster ride that no one wants to get on. In fact no one goes on it voluntarily. This is a coaster ride that starts with confusion, disbelief and, in misdiagnosed cases, anger. ‘The fight’ then kicks in. This is where you will do anything, anything, to beat it, to prove ‘them’ wrong. To make sure you’ve uncovered and discovered any treatments or options or miracle cures. Then the frustration of it all boils over followed by that deep emitting sadness that maybe, just maybe you actually won’t make it and finally, and hopefully, acceptance.
This is the roller coaster just for the terminally ill. The one the family goes on is similar but mixed up and around a bit. The acceptance of the fight ahead is the first initial supporting role, the confusion and the frustration of not being able to save them follows, then that deep unforgiving sadness when they leave, followed by anger, guilt, confusion, the feelings of unfairness, the questionable ‘what ifs’. Acceptance comes much, much later for the ones left behind.
A year of lasts is the year where your mortality stares you in the face each and every moment of each and every day. A year of lasts will see some fighting it every step of the way. Others who will write their bucket lists and hurriedly, joyfully get those things ticked off. Others choose to use their last year to inspire others, to leave a mark – their mark – on the world. But however, and whoever, it is that are living their ‘lasts’ they will be living it as if all of these moments are also their firsts. Because the simple things we take for granted have a very different look when they are stripped away, when they’re bare naked, raw and mortal. Life looks different through the eyes of the dying. Yet aren’t we all? Dying that is.
If you’ve said for years how you’d love to take your Dad to a live football game, just do it. If you’ve always dreamt of hot air ballooning with your husband, book it and just fucken do it. Make it happen. Whatever it is. Why wait til the day you are told you only have 12 months to live. Why wait until it is too late. It’s time to look at your own mortality in a most positive way. We are all dying. We all won’t make it. So what are we all doing with our lives! Whose fucking living it?!