All living things die eventually. I prefer that they do so in obvious cycles like winter coming after spring, and old age after a long and productive life. The span of life, however, is very elastic and often unpredictable.

Sometimes it is like a brief puff of breath… dragonflies, houseflies, kittens becoming cats, and children grown in the blink of an eye…

Sometimes it is for-EV-er like the stoneware dishes you hate but they were an ugly-to-you gift so you wish they would break so you could replace them but… they hardly ever do. Waiting for a child to be *really* toilet trained. Or the nightmarish wait for lab results.

Sometimes it is unexpectedly sudden… a car crash, an out-of-the blue virus, or maybe a sudden aneurysm.

Maybe you know it is coming because your illness is no longer treatable. How do you live with waiting to die? How do your loved ones cope with your implacable death sentence?

I trust in what comes after. I say that with no sentence swooping over my head. Would I feel different if I knew the time of my demise? (Not doom. Death is not doom.) At the moment, I am sure I would feel angry because I’m not finished. I have plans! I hope I would keep living out those plans to the very last minute. Not dead yet, and do not treat me as if I am!

The popular movie ‘The Bucket List’ got a lot of people thinking about what they wanted to accomplish in life, and what experiences they hoped to have. Like the dreams of childhood (when I grow up I wanna be/do/go…) revisited, our sense of mortality re-focused what is truly important to us.

I call young people (children and teens, mostly) ‘the immortals’ because they take such risks, laughing at the possibility of pain, misadventure, and mortality. That only happens to ‘other’ people. Not them. The concept that mortality is a fact of life at any age seems a joke. Their peers do not die. And if an older relative dies, well… they’re old. They should expect it.

Right. Tell that to a grief-stricken spouse when their partner of many years learns that the hideous headaches are signs of a brain tumor. The right arm they took for granted is unexpectedly in peril and may not see another birthday. The cherished, most important, taken-for-granted, life partner may be very ill. They may die. How to cope?

Most cope by doing whatever they can to make every day the best day possible, and never ever leave their loved one in doubt how past actions, efforts, and the memories shared are so very important. In a way, it is like living a Bucket List. In the end, all a Bucket List is is who and what we love.

So… what can I do to assist you in completing your Bucket List? You are on mine, you see…

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