I want you to close your eyes.
Okay. Now, picture your closest friends and family gathered together.
The day is perfect; an idyllic setting.
What do you see?
Maybe board games have been whipped out, and the competition is at an all-time high. Children are running around, heads are thrown back at 45-degree angles from laughing so hard, grins stretch from ear to ear.
If only you could take a snapshot of this moment. That is what we live for, right?
That moment when you realise and feel deep in your core, the connection you have between people – your loved ones. It’s surreal.
The feeling that washes over you is like that of a mother laying her eyes on her child for the first time; or climbing to the top of a mountain, throwing your hands up, fists closed, and looking out into the abyss.
It’s love. It’s happiness. And it’s serenity.
It’s a beautiful life.
Now, imagine being told you will only have a few more of these experiences. You have a limited amount of time left.
How would you feel? Would your eyes and heart see a whole different meaning to life?
The six infamous stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, and finding meaning. That’s what grief looks like. We’ve all experienced it in one form or another. Maybe not all six at once, maybe just a few here and there, but we have all experienced it.
However, when it’s your own life, it may sting a bit harder. And you may meet these stages from beginning to end.
Would you feel the sun on your cheeks differently? Would the greeting of a stranger touch you in a way it never had before? Or even, would the smell of the ocean, of freshly baked cookies or of a lit candle permeating the room be the same?
The mind is a powerful thing.
Is there a reason why we go through the six stages of grief starting with denial?
What if there was a way to jump straight to acceptance when we find out that we only have hours, days, weeks, or even years to live.
Do humans have the mental capacity to live such a fulfilling life that, when presented with unbearable news that (quite literally) means your clock is running out, they are able to jump straight to acceptance?
I think it may be possible.
We all go through life trying to find meaning at its various stages. Some of us learn that owning your own company, climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, starting a family, publishing a book, or whatever it may be, is what provides us with happiness and results in a meaningful life.
Imagine if you had the ability to put yourself in the dying body of a mother, father, or grandmother. Would this allow you to surpass denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and jump straight to acceptance?
One would hope. It’s something to think about.
I challenge you to use each breath of your day and give it meaning. To strive to feel so content and pleased with your life that acceptance comes easily, in all areas of your life.
Do what makes you happy, but also remember to slow down. To stop and smell the roses. To hug your loved ones a little tighter. And take the time to discover someone else’s story.