Monday, November 05, 2007

Tap Tap Tap

While I have some trouble with Dr Phil's tendency to stray into the tawdry, we still faithfully record his show because he does some good ones too. Frequently, we watch the beginning and disappointedly move on, but sometimes he still captures us ... as he did a week or two ago when his guest was Mitch Albom of Tuesdays With Morrie fame. Like most other sentient adults, I read the book a long time ago and later watched the TV movie, and like most other sentient adults I was appreciative of what I read and saw. So, I did watch this particular episode of Dr Phil with some interest.

Mitch recounted something that I don't remember from the book (but it was a long time ago). The essence of what Morrie imparted to him apparently went something like this: Imagine that every morning when you wake up, there's a bird on your shoulder. He taps you and asks if you are ready to die. In other words, have you been recently living your life in a meaningful and satisfactory way so that you wouldn't have a ton of regrets if it was your time to go. Now, that's my take, on what was said and whether or not it is very accurate, the question remains as valid food for thought.

Several weeks ago, I sat in a concert hall and began to experience funny feelings: light-headedness, a kind of weakness in both right limbs, and heat across my upper back. Of course, you know what a sixty-year-old immediately thinks: heart attack or stroke. I was concerned, of course, but one thought that crossed my mind in the midst of my overall anxiety was this: "If this is indeed my time to go, life has been good, and it's not so bad if I must depart now." Having said that, I surely was hoping for a better outcome, and I'm absolutely delighted to be sitting here, weeks later, typing these words for the benefit the handful of good souls who will read them. I have enjoyed every day since that odd attack, and I plan to do the same today and tomorrow.

Today, I will perhaps write a little, read a little, fiddle a little, be with my Cuppa a little, and spend a little time with the daughter and the granddaughter. I may go for a little walk and watch a little skein of geese fly by and just perhaps find a little tree with just a little colour remaining on it. While not everyone has the same amount of me time as I, surely most can take some time simply to be and to appreciate something and someone today, even if it's just to share a few unhurried, quiet moments.

As we have all heard, and it was said again by Mitch the other day, there seems to be no recorded case of someone on his or her death bed wishing that he or she had spent more time at work and less time being a parent or a companion.

I'm sure we all realize these things, but much of life is trying to remember and put into practice what we already know. Every now and then we need reminders to evaluate what we're doing and why and whether we would be happy with the choices that we have been making should the bird of paradise really tap us on the shoulder. I've had my reminder, so I'm passing it on. Tap, tap, tap.

PS: Don't you worry and fret. I did see the doctor, and it was probably just one of those odd but meaningless things that occur. Nevertheless, tests have been scheduled. Just in case.


Pam said...

I also read the book and saw the movie. At the time I had no idea that my journey here would lead me to ALS. But my take on life, before and after, has always been to live it to the fullest. This is no dress rehearsal and as difficult as life can sometimes be, there is much to embrace. My take on that bird is the same as yours.

I hope your back spasms are easing up.

thailandchani said...

Actually, I really don't think about things in this context. Perhaps it's just that I trust the process. When it's my time to go, it will be my time to go.. and that's it. I don't much believe in regrets.

Anonymous said...

I too happened to catch this Dr. Phil episode and was pleasantly surprised to be able to see the interview with Mitch Albom. I have read most of his books, "Tuesdays with Morrie" included. I also have this particular novel as an audio book on my iPod. It is one that I frequently catch bits of while sitting and waiting for a dr. appointment. No matter how often I listen to it.. I always come away feeling enlightened.

So relieved to hear that you are not ill. I think when you get to be our age.. sometimes our bodies just do little weird things. :-)

Mary said...

I'm glad you're ok. You had me scared for a moment.I loved this post--thanks for sharing your insights.

Sending you many warm hugs!

Talk soon.

Ruth said...

I often work with palliative patients and enjoyed Tuesdays with Morrie as it described feelings and reflections that are common among those near the end of life. I like this post. While it is not healthy to dwell on death, it is important to establish what is really important in life.