ABSTRACT: Thinking deeply and seriously about how you would spend your final day of life can be a therapeutic, spiritual, experience. You could ignore the matters of low and mid importance, and focus only on the really important one, your time. This article suggests that structuring your final day around the precious time that remains with family and friends is the optimum thing to do in your final day.
If you could somehow know, for certain, that you had only one more day to live, how would you want to spend that day?
This type of question is sometimes posed in classes about ethics, morality, philosophy, and so on. But, let us consider the question for real. Let us suppose that this is a real situation: you really ARE going to die in one day, and you need to decide how to spend that last day.
Many of us have participated in such exercises, such as the “lifeboat” moral scenario, in which you must decide whom to toss out of the boat because it is capsizing through overcrowding. But that would be a hypothetical exercise, and you would not need to face the situation in real life. You knew that you could escape, or that no disaster would really happen, or that you would live for many more years.
But, let us consider a situation in which you do know, with certainty, that you WILL die after one more day of life. This is not a question on a university examination, but a real situation.
Such a situation is close to home for me, for my brother died at age 73, a few months ago, after a life of heavy smoking and neglecting his health. He was five years younger than me. His cause of death was emphysema and COPD. He chose the date and time of his death, about two weeks into the future, because he was suffering greatly in his final months, and decided to undergo medically induced suicide. I talked with him in his final hours, and then he did indeed die.
What if that had been me? How would I spend my final day?
And what about you? How would you spend your final day?
In my own case, first I would eliminate the trivial, worldly, time-wasters. If I still have not cleaned up my filing cabinets or my workbench by now, then for certain on my final day I would not find time to try to do them.
Next, I would eliminate the huge number of tasks and responsibilities that are of medium importance. Thus, the final lawn mowing could be neglected. Finishing that final article or book could be forgotten. Paying some bills could be left to someone else. Fixing that broken fence post could be overlooked.
And, finally, I would focus on the really important things: my wife, our children, our extended family, our friends, my legacy.
All I would have left for them would be my time.
Yes, my time is eventually all that I have left. I would want to use my final day as a devotional tribute to the people in my life. I would, of course, want to tell each of them that I loved them. And I would want to reminisce briefly on some of the important moments that we shared in life. Also, I would want to give them whatever advice and words of wisdom that seem appropriate for each of them. And I would want to ensure that the right people know where to find my obituary and eulogy that I had drafted some years ago. Finally, I would ensure that the right people know where to find my password file, so that they could finish any business that needs attention.
And you, Dear Reader? How would you choose to spend your final day? Perhaps you would think of some of the things that I mentioned above, such as telling people that you loved them. And if other ideas that I mentioned inspire you, then I am happy to help.
Ultimately, the design of your last day is a spiritual exercise. You may want to spend a significant time in prayer. Or you may want to create your future life by visualizing it with great clarity, then releasing that vision to the universe, and then not worrying about it because, through your spiritual alchemy, you will have already created it. Or you may want simply to let go and let it all happen as it must do.
It is likely that the majority of OMTimes readers would recognize the spiritual opportunity here. They might typically adapt my ideas in this article to their own situations, and use them to create their own futures. It would be wonderful to think that some readers might think that this exercise might be useful to them in preparation for their own final days.
I sincerely hope that you get as much inspiration and enjoyment in working through this exercise as I did in writing this article.
William Bezanson is a regular contributor to OMTimes. In his retirement from a career in electrical engineering, he writes books on systems design, spirituality, and world stewardship. He lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada. His latest book is Bill’s Collected Wisdom, available from online book retailers. His website is www3.sympatico.ca/bezanson1 .