The end of life is probably nothing like what we picture it to be. Is it in a quiet hospital old and wrinkly with loved ones surrounding us, or is it a chaotic turbulent end where fear eventually settles into peace. What are our last words?
I write a lot of words. Most of them mean nothing, most of the time it’s just me talking to myself. Every now and then I write something I’m proud of but my favorite words I write are when I write birthday or holiday cards for loved ones. It’s the one place where I feel comfortable expressing my love and gratitude in a pocketable way. My parents never sat us down to tell us how they loved us or why we were special (I don’t know if most parents do this but I’ve heard many stories and seen it IRL). But once I was old enough to appreciate these sorts of things, I’d get at least one special card a year that reminded me I was Good. I think it’s special to have these words, on days when it gets rough. However, I rarely write these words for myself, and we really should.
Dear Self —
I hope that it worked out okay. I hope you got all the things you wanted in life. Love, family, friends, passion, peace of mind. I hope it all came together in a way that you can see was meaningful.
It mattered. The days spent lazily sitting around friends at a campfire or coffee table talking about the what ifs and even thoughs. The nights meeting up with your inner circle to wonder why we try so hard, and how sometimes we end up empty handed. The days spent crying over work exhaustion that eventually resolved into nights laughing with friends and coworkers about the insanity of it all.
The many you’s you’ve been, they mattered too. Even the bad times when you questioned the worth of being here. Even the really bad times when you seemed happy on the outside but really you were just trying to wipe away reality. But especially the good times, those mattered most. The times you put down what you were doing and showed up because it would make someone else smile. The times you manically spent fitting everyone into a plan so that everyone could have something they’ll always remember. The times you said “everything’s going to be okay” and it was. The times you pulled through for someone even though it wasn’t your job. The times you chose love and togetherness even though fear and loss was inevitable. The times you remembered to smile, for life’s sake.
The little things surrounding all the big changes — the moves, the hustle, the dream. The little things will always be what you look back on. And luckily, you’ve already always known this. From when you were 7 and sat in the backyard drawing the leaves on the trees, from when you were 12 and sat in the sun in the woods by yourself, to when you were 21 fueled by red bull and coffee sleeping 2 hrs a night, to when you were 26 and laughed laughed laughed, the little things always kept your experience — yours.
These are the last words I ever write because these, I think, will always be the things that mattered. And the very last of my last words are the most important of all. Thank you for letting me be a part of this.
8. These are the very last words you will ever write.