I’m grateful that someone (from the local paper!) asked me to write 300 words about what I would do with one day left to live. In accepting and in its writing, it brought me back to the beautiful frailty of these precious moments. This contemplation has (I think and feel, but can not know) helped me prepare a little for death(s), and refreshed life, hopefully to the benefit of all. Below is my response.
I will let go. The question posed was “what would I do”, and the response of ‘Let go’ refers to a sort of non-doing. My habit is to always ‘do’ and try to ‘hold on’: to possessions, relationships, memories, emotions, thoughts, identities, roles. With death so close and intimate, its presence evaporates concepts of past and future, leaving only this. This. I will let go. I will be open, vulnerable and experience the grit, grace, breath, breeze, tears, trauma, guilt, gratitude, fear, farts, laughs and longing. I won’t linger, savour or capture these moments: I will let go. Let go. I will let my whole life, memories, aspirations, wash over me again and again like waves on a sandy shore, receding each time to leave a clean canvas of corporeal consciousness.
To all those around me I will give the only gift left, my complete and undistracted presence and attention. To allow them to give me the same gift of their undistracted attention in my presence, I will (via my Will) communicate clearly about how and to whom I release anything remaining (my body, organs, children, pets, money, possessions, and social media accounts). Together, in those final conversations with friends, family, nature, god, and whoever else I happen upon, we will let go and turn our attention outwards. We will let go of our separation, aspiration, consternation and preoccupations and just be in awe and wonder. We will enjoy, together, the majestic, microscopic, miraculous and mundane game of human and cosmic evolution. As participants and spectators simultaneously, enjoying these precious moments before release. When the siren’s last breath signals the end of the game for one (but not everyone), I will fall down, lie at peace, the last impression being my body on earth. I will let go.