Today's post was inspired by my friend Lois from Ohio and by Amanda's favorite illustrator, Gris Grimly. That probably sounds like an odd combination of folks that one would get blog-post inspiration from but they both wrote about almost the same thing on the same day - Lois in her post A Memory and Gris Grimly in a status update on Facebook. I can't help but think that Lois and Gris were on the same wavelength yesterday even if she was in Ohio getting ready for her furniture to arrive at her new apartment while Gris was over in California working on some monstrously wonderful illustration.
Lois wrote about the death of her father three years ago and how his passing changed her outlook on life:
"From this moment on, I adopted a what would you do on your deathbed philosophy. You don't think about work, stuff, etc. You think about love, family, and moving on to the next step of life ... eternal life in God's hands. The next time you're angry at the driver ahead of you or something like that, think about it. Would it be your worry on your deathbed? When it's all said and done, does it really matter?"Meanwhile over on Facebook, Gris Grimly wrote:
"Thinking about what is important in life. When all is over and you are lying on your deathbed, what matters to you?"These are really good things for a person to contemplate even if one doesn't like to think about one's own mortality. Death and dying is as much a part of the Circle of Life as being born and living is but people seem to want to shy away from that. I guess that to a certain extent I can't say that I blame them as there's always the fear of the great unknown but I think my own fear wouldn't come from the adventure awaiting me so much as the fear of missing something as I left the rest of the adventure here on earth behind.
Still, we all go sometime - some with regrets that they hadn't done all that they wanted to do and others who have no regrets and are ready to meet their maker - like my grandfather who said he had lived a good full life, saw all of his children grown and settled, and was ready to go. I'm pretty sure that as he saw his life slipping away he wasn't having any regrets or worries but was looking forward to his reward in the kingdom of heaven as well as perhaps seeing his wife and other loved ones who had gone on before him again.
After giving it some thought, my answer to Gris' question as to what matters to me was:
"Knowing that I did my best in giving my children encouragement and strength to pursue their own dreams; that I was the best friend that I could be to others; and that I was true to myself in the process."I hope that when I pass on, I'll be able to look back and know that I accomplished those things and that I can rest easy on the other side. How about you? What would matter to you before you have "slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings ..."?