My wife Nicole knows lots about death.
She is a hospice nurse who provides care and luxury to people at the top of their life path. It also helps family members navigate a constellation of mixed feelings, from fear and confusion to acceptance and even relief.
Nicole took day without work work when her grandmother’s cancer, after years of successful treatment, finally unleashed its fatal agenda. And then Nicole’s grandfather got lung cancer. She stepped in again to supply look after the remaining of her life.
Nicole tells me that in these last moments for patients and their family members, the conversations are about love, memories, sometimes grief and sincere goodbyes. Not to say larger houses, fancy cars, the most recent tech gear, and all the opposite stuff that folks find yourself pouring into their garages and warehouses.
Death is a profound teacher, but nobody wants to join classes.
We spend our lives chasing after money and possessions, only to find within the late game that relationships, experiences, and passions best feed our souls. If only we had realized earlier what is absolutely necessary.
If only we had learned early that a superb death requires a superb life.
We don’t go gently into this good night
Columbia University physician Lydia S. Dugdale is an authority in medical ethics and the treatment of older patients. Dugdale’s bookThe Lost Art of Dying: Resurrecting Forgotten Wisdom“ says too a lot of us die in bad shape.
Dr. Dugdale’s book was inspired by an ancient text written within the Middle Ages after the Black Plague. The text, the so-called ars moriendi – The art of dyinginspires the notion that to be able to die well, one must first live well.
AND review from Dr. Dugdale’s book at BookBrowse.com notes:
Part of the issue is that we don’t desire to take into consideration death, so we do not plan and prepare. We postpone the creation of trusts, living wills and end-of-life health directives.
Even worse, our refusal to think about and face mortality prevents us from living our greatest lives. We place an excessive amount of importance on money, status, and possessions quite than on our health, relationships, and repair to others.
This is where minimalism and ease can come in useful. By simplifying our lives and eliminating things we do not need, we will focus more on the necessary things.
Dr. Dugdale notes in his book:
There is nothing fallacious with ambition and success, but to live well, we should always adopt Latin moment mori, which implies “Remember that you could die.”
It may sound depressing, but it surely is liberating.
Because after we look rigorously at our lives, we start to see the burdens we feature. Bubble mortgages, limitless automotive payments, bank card debt, stuffed garages, and more.
Deep personal reflection results in other insights. For example, the large period of time we waste on social media distractions, cable TV hysteria, unhealthy diets and bad lifestyles.
What would our lives be like if we ditched those things and as a substitute focused on our health, relationships, education, creative passions, and helping others?
We found that less is more
In 2016, I used to be a busy law enforcement officer, serving my tenth yr as chief of police and my twenty sixth yr as a police officer. I enjoyed my profession, but I used to be bored with stress and politics.
Nicole’s work stories and her experiences together with her grandparents jogged my memory how short life is. Even though I only have five years left until full retirement, I even have decided to take early retirement. I desired to spend more time with my family and write.
To compensate for the reduced income related to early retirement, we’ve embraced minimalism. We sold our house, moved to a more cost-effective state, and downsized.
Cleaning up, adopting a simplified wardrobe and eliminating unnecessary things has improved the standard of our lives. My flexible schedule as a author allowed for more exercise, walks with my dogs, reading, and quiet conversations with Nicole and our son.
We found that less is more. Little did we know the way positive changes in our lives would prepare us for what got here next.
Start living our greatest life
In 2021, Nicole found a lump in her breast and doctors confirmed it was breast cancer. We thought of ourselves momento mori every single day.
The whole yr was marked by visits, tests, surgeries, follow-up visits and treatment. Fortunately, the cancer was detected early and Nicole’s prognosis is great.
To have fun her recovery, we went to Scotland this yr. We have seen all of it, visiting the Highlands, boating on the lakes, visiting castles and having fun with the country and its lovely people.
An excellent death requires a superb life. The warm memories of our trip to Scotland reflect one of the best of life.
There was a moment in Scotland when Nicole was standing on an old bridge looking down at a flowing river. Water under the bridge, identical to the troubles and challenges we have overcome.
This scene moved me and I took an image of this beautiful moment.
The photo is a reminder that after we simplify, we order and accept momento moriwe will shed the burdens we feature. We can chart a greater future.
We can start living our greatest life.