My uncle Doug is battling pancreatic cancer. He and his family (my aunt and their son) came to California last week and I spent a few days with them. We laughed, cried, talked about his prognosis, reminisced and played in the sunshine. When it was time to say goodbye, I knew it was GOODBYE. We could have just brushed off the obvious and said “see ya later, take care”, but I was overwhelmed by the urge to be very present in that moment.
I have lost some really special and important people in my life, but this was a little different, because we still have time. We talked about what this is like for him to know that his end could be coming soon and how precious time is. Your presence is the best present you can give yourself and others. I was able to look him in the eyes and tell him how much it meant to me that we got to spend this time together. I got to tell him that he was a special uncle to me and an important part of my childhood. He KNOWS that he matters.
We don’t always get the gift of goodbye
This goodbye led to a long night of deep thoughts. One thing that kept coming up for me was the thought of being present. So many of us live in the past- either nostalgically or at war with it. At other times we are lost in worry about a future we haven’t even had yet! I have been guilty of this on many occasions.
The power is always in the present moment…
Tell your tribe that you love them. Write the card, make the phone call or get on the plane… be present. Take a few moments to sink into gratitude. Be mindful of your breathing – something as simple as taking a breath could end up being the very thing you are praying for one day. We are not promised tomorrow and life is not a dress rehearsal. Love people NOW. Make it your intention to see the world through your heart. Feel it all. That’s how you live a present life… today is all we really have.