Nancy S. Lawson passed away abruptly in 2012 but not before she summarized the art of living and dying within the pages of “A Final Farewell”.
"You see, we all have a terminal illness called life" she said. We know that someday, sometime we will die of it; and because of this, it’s important to be more aware of the color of the sky, the beauty of flowers, the pleasure we feel as a breeze brushes against our skin or the bluster of a strong wind that blows … reminding us of life’s powerful forces.
Due to a few near fatal experiences Nancy felt that death made her more aware of the joys that filled each day – the smile and gentle touch of a friends hand, grandchildren laughing and playing, children growing wiser and more compassionate, sturdy trees blowing in the wind, dropping exquisite colored leaves in the fall. She believed that how we approach death may be dependent on how much we have experienced life.
Have we set goals? Have some of those been accomplished? Have we been kind and gentle to others? Have we loved or been loved? Ruth Montgomery’s father’s quote documented within her book, “The World to Come”, speaks volumes to these questions. ”Strive to make each day better because you are there to help. Bless the earth with all your being just as you bless each person you meet. Live each day as if it is the sole recording of your entire lifetime. Keep that page so neat and tidy, so filled with loving care that if your life ended at midnight the page would be spotless and blameless, for surely even the worst of us can live one day in nearly blameless harmony with all about us.”
There are so many things that we experience each day, from the person who lets us cross in front of them in the traffic, to the person who helps carry groceries- “random acts of kindness” that make our lives more meaningful. Nancy stressed setting goals toward perfect living but suggests we go no further than one day ahead, then adding a similar goal for the next day and the next; the result - a string of pearls, each more glistening and pure than the one before.
She reminds us that what we give out will come back like a boomerang, showing others how we expect to be treated by how we treat them. How do we muster through? Look for the little signs that tell you that someone, some force is helping to smooth your way. Know that some little action, some seemingly insignificant word you speak may change your life or someone else’s. Today, when all around the world fear hangs heavily over our heads peace can begin with us – choose to live peace by taking a few extra minutes each day to be tender to people, to smile, to raise spirits with kindness, to inquire about them and care. Begin with your family then, expand out into your communities. Let the little things count and as we experience life, know that with each step we approach death but, live not in fear of what is to come, instead throw yourself wholeheartedly into life – using discrimination, experience everything for life is eternal.
Nancy closes this chapter with a quote by Joshua Loth Liebman. “Death is not the enemy of life, but its friend, for it is the knowledge that our years are limited which makes them so precious. It is the truth that time is but lent to us which makes us … look upon our years as a trust handed into our temporary keeping.”
Join us for our next discussion with Nancy S. Lawson to indulge in “Things you need to know”.
Nancy S. Lawson, "A Final Farewell" Your personal guide to end of life issues; golden Age Press, Inc.; Copyright 2002 by Nancy Lawson