Last night I witnessed a young man take his last breath. I did not know him nor did the other two women that held his hand and rubbed his head as he transitioned from this life to the next. I know that this is what I signed up for, everyone in the medical field does. But all of the education in the world can not prepare you for your first time. I cried when I got home and dreamt that all of my plants and flowers were covered in soil and were dying. The more I tried to clean the dirt from their leaves the more wilted and dirty their leaves became. I couldn’t get them back to how they were.
I woke up at 5AM feeling an odd type of sad. I can’t really explain it as I have never felt it before. I showered and put my scrubs on. As I bent over to tie my sneakers, the tears pelted my lace entangled fingers. I just couldn’t adult today. I never finished tying the laces. I took off my shoes, put on my pj’s and went back to bed. I listened to the rain pitter patter outside my window as I replayed the last moments of his life over and over. I sent him Reiki healing and envisioned him in a more peaceful place, surrounded by loved ones.
It wasn’t until late afternoon that I chose to venture out. I made sure to notice everything. The lovely smile of the friendly bank teller. The beautiful necklace of the woman that held the door for me. The changing colors of the trees.
The people hunched over and preoccupied on their computers at Starbucks. How the sky looked like a fluffy pale gray blanket. The wind softly nipping at my cheeks. How the puddle I stepped in lost some of its mass to the canvas of my sneakers. The completely full parking lot at Whole Foods at 1:30 in the afternoon.
And then oddly enough a half gallon of milk sitting on a curb with a few apples and bananas. For some reason this made me smile. I have no idea how or why it was left there, but I appreciated the fact that I got a chance to notice it. I did this without coming up with a back story as to why it was there. I just loved that it was. I envisioned the creatures of Mill Valley having a feast. I unscrewed the milk cap to make it easier for them (Got Milk?).
As I approached my car I took an unusually deep, deep breath. I took notice to the moment that the air entered and cooled my nares and to the second that it slowly filled my chest and expanded my belly. I held it for a few seconds and was a little nervous to let it go. I closed my eyes as I exhaled and then cried a little more. With these tears came a realization. We hear certain life affirmations over and over and over again. So much so that they have somehow become white noise in the background of our ever so busy lives. Their simple meaning getting jumbled into an inaudible mess as we rush through our days and nights. Today I heard each one of them loud and clear.
Life is short.
Tomorrow is not promised.
Forgive and forget.
Live life to the fullest.
Time waits for no one.
For the last few years I have not really lived. I’ve worked and worked and have given my time to people who have abused it. I have gone from point A to point B but haven’t taken the time to pay attention to the letters. numbers and special characters in between. Yes I have learned some important lessons but what good is that learning if you don’t have special moments to apply them to? Today I have promised myself to notice the small things. To appreciate what surrounds me and what comes into my field. To look without as well as within. To let things go and be supportive when I can. To enjoy this journey like I did when I was young, when the world seemed to have so many possibilities (it still does). To listen more and talk less (at least I’ll try). To not let time slip by in negative thoughts and moments. To take deep breaths, pause, and slowly exhale. And most importantly to have gratitude for the fact that I can still do that.