Life is Short

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Shannon, an incredible woman died last month just before her 39th birthday. She had been ill with leukemia for just 17 months. I attended her memorial and was overwhelmed with the sweetness and love our whole community had for her and her family.

It made me think about death and how it brings out our awareness that life is short. One friend of hers spoke of her experience in knowing Shannon, it had allowed her to be a better wife, mom, friend to everyone.

As a teen I read a book by Carlos Castaneda, the one sentence that’s stayed with me all these years is….”Live life as though death was on your left shoulder.” If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today? When we think about our mortality, nothing is really important but love.

Many years ago when I was a medical student, I had a patient in the hospital who had only been given 2 weeks to live. He had a malignant melanoma that had metastasized to his brain. He was 56 years old. In spite of his poor prognosis, he decided to marry his girlfriend before he died. So he had a small marriage ceremony in the hospital. I couldn’t think of anything to give him that he would be able to keep. The only gift I could think of was my own presence and caring for him. The gift he gave to me, was a sense of his dignity, courage, and love.

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  • Lauren

    Your an amazing women

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