Partnering with the Reaper

red leaves

"We don't beat 'The Reaper' by living longer.

We beat 'The Reaper' by living well and living fully."

         ~Professor, Randy Pausch

Years ago, I accompanied my Mother to a seminar on Death & Dying at the Arvada Methodist Church.  The two most remarkable breakout sessions were viewing Professor Randy Pausch's  "The Last Lecture"and a workshop where we were introduced to "Five Wishes".

Many of you might remember Randy Pausch, the professor , who after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, spent the last year of his Life focusing, compiling and sharing everything he believed about living ~ in his last lecture at Carnegie Mellon.

His lecture was entitled, " Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". "It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, and of seizing every moment...(because 'time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think')" 
I remember two questions he posed that I believe are worthwhile for each of us to consider:

"What wisdom would we impart to the world 

if we knew it was our last chance?

 If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want 

as our legacy?"

"Five Wishes" offers us a structured format for documenting exactly how we want to be treated if we get seriously ill. Inspired by Jim Towey who worked with Mother Teresa for 12 years, "Five Wishes" has been called the first "living will with heart and soul".

 My Mother and I spent the day learning and discussing dying and death, what was most meaningful in our lives and what care or course of action we'd want if we became seriously ill.  Those real conversations and the sweet time we spent together, live on in my heart as a cherished memory.

 So in keeping with who she was, my Mother promptly completed her "Five Wishes" document and made sure we knew she stored it in the bookcase.  Ironically, it was what we turned to when she died suddenly, three years ago. 

We were able to go right to her wishes and carry them out without argument!  Her every detail, written out in her own hand, gave us some sort of comfort and direction.  And although we felt clearly robbed of more time with her, we celebrate the way she lived, reminding us each day, to be present with courage, curiosity, and compassion.

My intention in sharing this with you today is merely to catch your attention!  And perhaps to remind you to slow down... to consider what is truly important and valuable in your Life. I implore you to make conscious choices that honor who you really are and the contribution you make to others.

 As Professor Pausch reminded us in his last lecture,

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, 

just how we play the hand." 

It's your deal!

Below is a link to a sample of Five Wishes