What does a dying man think about?
His thoughts are simple. If he is married with grown up children, his thoughts are with them. He would wish that his wife would carry on with her life. He would want her to enjoy life after the mourning is over. He would want her to think of the good times they had once shared together and draw strength from the fond memories.
He would also wish the same for his children, their marriage and their own children. A dying man would want to pass on this legacy to those he leaves behind: "Nothing can ever take the place of family and good friends. Not money, fame or worldly accolades."
If he is single, then his thoughts would flow along the same line as the one who is married with children. Apart from settling his testamentary matters, paying his debts and taxes, he would spare some thought about how he had lived his life todate.
He would be wondering why he has been so hard on his loved ones for the most inconsequential matters of life. Why did he not let it go when letting it go would surely be more redeeming of the relationship than stubbornly holding on? Why did he not forgive when he had the chance to forgive and instead bore the grudge for so long and foolishly allowed bitterness to die with him? Doesn't it only add to the weight of his grave by allowing hatred and bitterness to share in his coffin? Isn't it claustrophobic enough in there?
I believe a dying man would spend some time with two companions called regret and guilt before his final hour. They would come to him with parcels of the past in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other.
With what little time left, regret and guilt would cut the strings of each parcel and open up its contents. Each parcel would contain a name and each name would remind the dying man of what he had said or done. It would inevitably bring tearful and painful memories to him.
Every name indelibly marks a crossroad in his life as he stood before it. And he would remember that he was once forced to make a choice at each crossroad. Those were no easy choices for him. There was no bypassing them. Nevertheless, he had made his choices and had lived with the consequences. Yet, he knew these choices would one day return to haunt him. And return they did.
But his two deathbed companions were there to make sure that the haunting does not exceed its intended effect. As the dying man stared with tears at those names, his heart was gripped with a different kind of bitterness. It was not one that arose out of unforgiveness. On the contrary, it was a bitterness that arose out of a heart of grief and brokenness. Unlike the bitterness of unforgiveness, which would laden the weight of his grave, the bitterness of grief and brokenness would make his grave empty; as if death has not completely died.
This incompleteness would torment the dying man and there is only one thing he could do to elevate this torment and make his deathly grave more complete. He would have to make contact with the people behind those names and beg for forgiveness. He has to call a friend and apologize. He has to tell his wife the truth about that night. He has to confess to his business partner about why the deal went through. He has to explain to his parents that he did not mean what he said that day. He has to hug his children for the last time.
Of course the dying man would not have the time to say what he wants to say to each and every person named in the parcel. But he would have to do his best with what time is left to make amends. His goal is to rest in peace and it is not the resting that is the hard part here, it is the peace part that he is striving his darnest to redeem.
These are the thoughts that fill his dying days and seldom is any thought spared on other things material like a wasted opportunity to make more money or the bemoaning of the purchase of an overpriced investment or the missed chance of securing that fortune-changing deal.
And as he heaves his last breath, and surveys the room full of his loved ones and friends, with tears welling up in his eyes, his last thought reserved for at least that last moment of his life would be to have done it all a little differently if given a second chance and that difference is to have lived life just a little more. Cheerz
* Image from "fineartamerica.com".