“Life should not be measured by the number of breaths we take, but the number of moments that take our breath away”.
I’ve seen this quote before and wish I could credit it’s author. Today I read it in an obituary. Part of my daily duties at work are to check the obituary’s. Not a great way to start my day. You would think. But I often read obituary’s so full of wonder and love and lives lived well that I take comfort in the life I never knew. I try not to make this a task, but a way to take a moment to say one last good bye to someone our unit may have had to assist along their journey. We don’t always get to stay in touch with the people who call us in to their lives. But it doesn’t mean we don’t think of them. So when I come across one of them and have to document their passing, I try to think of them fondly, and if I did not know them as their case worker I may read some notes to learn a little something about them. Sometimes the obituary tells me wonderful things about someone who’s path we briefly traveled on. Sometimes it is brief and I find it sad that a life was lived and all that is posted in memory is a date, a burial, and maybe some family names, maybe not. Sometimes I do, or did, know them. And I feel the pain of loss. And as we are sometimes apt to do, I feel peace in knowing they are no longer suffering in pain or loneliness.
I met one man. His fiancé died just weeks before their marriage. When I met him she had been gone for maybe fifty years. Maybe more. I remember her name. I can still picture her high school portrait he kept on his TV. He never married. The one love he wanted he could not have. So he kept her the only way he could. By waiting to join her. I was happy for him when he passed. Because I knew what was waiting for him. And I know he took joy in this. I don’t think he wasted his life. I believe he lived it well from what he told me. He did what he could to be a good man. A decent man. But still, I was happy for the love he found when he left here.
So I start my work day by reading about the end of other’s days. It is a constant reminder, a ‘to do’ on my day list. Not my work list. My life list. In reflecting on the end of other’s lives, I want to make sure I look at my life every day so I can catch my moments, and love them now.
At the end of my stay here I want a load of moments piled up every where. Sometimes I have to take notice that I am my own worst enemy and “moment blocker”. Sometimes I’m so focused on where I’m going I forget to pay attention to where I am. I need to remember, every step is needed to get me every where I go (feel free to quote me there). I want to remember and focus on every moment I have. Because every minute counts. Surely not all moments are as memorable as others. But they all count.
I just really like that quote. It says a lot to me.