I’ve experienced one of the most special days of my life this past week – the marriage of my daughter to her best friend. It was such a beautiful day, filled with so much love in celebration of their union and commitment to each other.
Having lost my mum as a young child and missing out on all the mother/daughter experiences, it made it super special to experience with my daughter what I never got to experience with my mum. It was a gift beyond what I could have ever have imagined and it’s a day that will be etched on my heart for eternity.
Running parallel to the lead up to the wedding, my mother-in-law has been nearing the end of the road in this lifetime and took her final breaths early yesterday morning. She had a sudden and unexpected journey with cancer. We had been notified about four times in the past six weeks to drop everything and get to her bedside as she wasn’t expected to be long in this world. We live in Canberra and she lives in Adelaide – some 1200km away. It hasn’t been as simple as driving 5 minutes down the road to be with her – it’s been a matter of logistics to make it happen … and that’s what we as a family did; were there with her in her final hours. Her decline was rapid. She has been ready to go home to her maker and was just waiting for her body to catch up with her decision.
It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions – feeling sad that our family’s last surviving parent and grandparent has left us and at the same time, happy and full of joy for my daughter to be venturing on the next exciting phase of her life’s journey.
Reflecting on life
As I sat vigil by my mother-in-law’s bedside in her final hours, watching her breath slowing down and her gaze drifting off to what I imagine is the gathering of angels awaiting her arrival, I reflected on the cycle of life.
I reflected on what life has been like for her and what she was thinking in the lead up to her life on the earth plane drawing to a close. I reflected on my daughter’s life and how much joy and love she has brought into mine and what life has in store for her. And I reflected on my own life and what meaning and purpose it has. Like in the movies when someone’s life flashes before their eyes, I have a montage of life events spilling forward – nothing specific, just a concoction of entwined memories. I also reflected on what lies ahead for me on my own untrod path of life.
Life is a cycle
My reflections are that life is a cycle. It starts with birth, then life happens, and eventually death comes for us all. Life is bookended by birth and death – those two things are certain. Everything in between is where the living is done. And it’s up to each of us to make the most of the time we have.
For me, that means spending time with my family and loved ones, pursuing my passions, and making meaningful contribution and connections with others. It also means taking time to reflect on the important moments in my life – like the marriage of my daughter, the passing of my mother-in-law and all the other moments in that pot of memories.
In these times of reflection, I am reminded of how precious life is and how quickly it can pass by. That’s why I’m determined to make the most of every moment I have left.
Living my best and most beautiful life
Many years ago I made the decision to live my best and most beautiful life. Today I am reminded of how important a decision that still is. I choose to continue loving life and honouring the emotions that come with it. They are not always pretty, sparkly, rosie or joyful; sometimes they are deeply sad and dark and heavy. But they are always filled with love. Love is at the core of how I choose to fill the pages of my life. Love was at the centre of my daughter’s wedding day and love is the wings that will carry my mother-in-law home.
I’m not sure what lies beyond the rainbow bridge. I’m not sure what lies ahead for my daughter. And I’m not sure what lies head for me. But I am sure that when we choose to make the most of our lives, beautiful things happen.
Whatever stage of life you’re in, make sure you take the time to truly live it. Cherish your loved ones, follow your dreams, and make positive memories that will last a lifetime and live your life full of love. That’s how you’ll make the most of this glorious cycle we call life.
With hugs and heart-filled happiness