Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fleeting Moments

Any time I've seen a hummingbird it has been like a fleeting moment.  They are so quick, flitting from flower to flower and then suddenly they're gone.  When I was making this sympathy card recently that's what I was thinking about - fleeting moments.

All it takes is a fleeting moment to change a life.  It can be the decision to buy a lottery ticket or taking a different route to work.  It can be something you do everyday of your life or something you're doing for the first time.  In any case, whether or not or even how it changes your life is unpredictable.  The thing is, we don't sit around waiting for something to happen to change our lives.  We go on with them and take our chances.  

Throughout this last year the family and friends that I have who have passed away have not gone suddenly.  Some have been in hospice and some have been in the hospital, but none of them has passed away without warning.  None of them has gone in a fleeting moment.  They have all had some inkling that the end was near.   I'm trying to decide if this is a good thing or not.   

About 15 years ago my daughter and I were in a car accident.  Someone t-boned us at an intersection and totalled our car, but luckily Rachel was not injured except for some bruises.  I had taken the brunt of the crash on the driver's side of the car and had it not been for the fact that we were just coming from her soccer game and I had several layers of clothing on, I'm sure my injuries would have been much more serious.  

 I could see the impact coming out of the corner of my eye, but aside from trying to apply the brakes, there was no way to escape so I remember closing my eyes which was a good reaction because there was glass everywhere after the crash.  The impact also caused the wind to get knocked out of me so when I opened my eyes I couldn't catch my breath.  It hadn't yet registered with me what was going on and the point to bringing this up is that it wasn't like the movies where you see "your life flash in front of your eyes" or you relive your sweetest memories.  It happened and there was no time to react to anything else but to tell myself to breath.  It's your instinct for survival that kicks in, not your submission to death.

But.... having said that, it becomes a fleeting moment because when you're done with the flashing lights of the ambulance, and the doctors and nurses milling around you.... when you're sitting safely in your husband's truck in clothes that someone grabbed for you because yours were cut off in the ambulance...... when you wait patiently as he runs into a convenience store for a cup of coffee on the way home because he's been without food or drink while nervously waiting for word on the seriousness of your situation.... that's when the "life flashing" begins.  That's when you see how lucky you were, and are so thankful for what you have had.  That's when I had the opportunity to make choices and changes that would have a more positive impact on my life.  

These people that I have lost rcently haven't had the same opportunity.   In that situation, the time that they were given between finding out that they were going to die and dying was not used to make changes in their lives.  They have not been alone though.  They have been surrounded by loving families who have gone on to grieve for their loss.

So what I'm getting at I suppose is that no matter whether you know you're going to die or not, the fleeting moment is every moment that you don't take to enjoy, change, or live your life to the fullest.  Every moment to improve yours or someone elses life is a fleeting moment if you don't act upon it.  Sure, we all need down time and rest and relaxation, and we wouldn't be human if we did not have some regret about something that we would have done differently along the way, but we will never get wasted time back.  There's no bank to put time into that we can draw upon later.  So we best use it as good as we can when we can.

1 comment:

  1. Very philosophical, Lorraine! I agree with what I understand from your final point, we need to live in today as fully as we can.
    You're right about accidents - once you see that other car coming, there's no time for a playback, you're just bracing for the impact.
    Sudden death - it's what I'd like for me, but I think it's much harder for family and friends when there has been no warning at all, no time to prepare. It's still a shock when the end does come, but less of a shock than someone going to bed and not waking up in the morning.
    Strange that you should post this today; I've just finished a book by Diana Athill, and the last book in the anthology was all about growing old and dying (she was in her eighties at the time of writing).
    I love the gloss and pearl eye on your little humming bird.


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