I just woke up at about 2:30 in the afternoon. Now, I have to admit that I usually do sleep pretty late, but even this was a little extreme for me. The reason I woke up so late had to do with the fact that I was at the hospital until after 3 a.m. My aunt had a stoke, and she was going down a lot faster than any of us had ever anticipated, so there we all were, sitting outside her room on the hospice level of one of the major hospitals….just waiting.
I’m not sure if any of you have ever experienced anything like this, but I really hope that you haven’t, because it is an absolutely miserable experience. Someone you love’s life turning into hours, minutes, seconds before your eyes, and you’re just sitting there. Waiting. Wondering when it’s going to be. It’s incredibly painful to watch.
I think one of the hardest parts for me was watching her granddaughter, who just went into middle school, trying to make sense out of all of it. Her and her mom have really great singing voices (in fact, that entire side of the family absolutely loved music), and they stood by my aunt’s bed all night singing to her. I could hear it from my spot in the hallway with my parents and all the other aunts and uncles, and it sounded incredibly strange and beautiful filling up the otherwise empty hospice floor.
They said that she wouldn’t last the night, but she did. My parents ended up taking me home around 4 a.m., and I finally rolled into bed around 5 while my parents rode back up there. When I woke up this afternoon, my mom told me that they were still up there waiting. She ended up passing away around 4:45 p.m.
Whenever someone passes away, especially when they’re close to you, you have a tendency to take a look at your own life and ask questions. For me, it showed me once again how short life can be and how important it is to live each and every day doing what you love. Life’s too short to be unhappy. One of mine and my boyfriend’s (we’re going to call him Hatter from now on. Get it? Alice in Wonderland theme? Hatter?) favorite quotes is one by Steve Jobs when he was giving a speech at Stanford that says,
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
(By the way, if you have never heard that speech, I would highly recommend looking it up now. It’s incredibly empowering and definitely worth the fifteen-ish minutes it’ll take you to watch it.)
This quote really got to me, and I really think it’s the reason I’ve taken so long to decide on a major. I want to wake up every day knowing that I’m going to spend it doing what I love with the people I love. As I’m starting to find out, life’s way too short not to.