On August 4th, 2016, there was an incident that changed the course of my life forever. I was in a hospital room with a young man who took his last breath and, at the moment, he took his last breath I took my first breath into a life I had never understood until that moment, a moment in time, where time was no longer relevant.
It wasn’t about the past. It wasn’t about the future; it was about this one moment in time. A couple of questions I have heard other people ask others is “what would you do if you knew this was your last day, or if you knew you were to die tomorrow, what would you do?” Although, while I think these are questions are thought-provoking and maybe insightful, I don’t think these are the right questions to ask to see if we are on the right path in life or not.
Because if you were to die tomorrow, you would have no responsibilities and, there would be no impact on the choices you made today. You could empty your entire bank account, fly somewhere exotic, and find a new lover for one night because you are dying tomorrow, so why would it matter. However, because death is such a transformative experience when we lose people, it’s always a great time for reflection.
However, I could not help but wonder what the right question is, and this is what I believe the right question should be. “What if you knew the date of your death?’
I believe if we knew the date of our death, I assume we would live our life differently. Our priorities would not be how much we will have in our bank account, but more importantly, how much we have in our relationship account.
I believe our number one priority would be giving the gift of connecting to our loved ones. We would be living in the present moment, and our life would be about building relationships and leaving a legacy within our families.
We would fulfill our dreams and also helping others fulfill their dreams too. You would not want people to remember our academic or financial accomplishments. We would want our legacy to be the relationships we built the difference we made in someone’s life.
The young man in the hospital room transformed my life the day he died. He was 28 years old and thought he had his whole life ahead of him. He thought he had the time to follow his dreams. He thought he had time to make amends to the people he had hurt along his short journey called life. He thought he was going to marry the girl of his dreams. He thought he was going to travel the world. He thought he had all the time in the world to carry out and fulfill his dreams and aspirations.
This young man on the day he died gave me a wonderful gift. He gave me the gift of “urgency” about living in the moment. I now celebrate who I am. I celebrate the people in my life, whom I love and letting them know how much they mean to me.
My gift to each person reading this article is to remind each of you to reach out to the people in your life you love and don’t wait to be at someone’s death bed to tell them how much they mean to you.
My life was forever transformed in the hospital room because I thought I would have all the time in the world to tell this young person how incredible and loved he was.
You see, the young man was my son.