How Time Works When You Dying

by | Aug 4, 2018

Though Time is a fair resource (everyone gets the same 24hrs in a day), not everyone gets the same amount of days as the outcome of longevity is unequal. For an individual with no eminent health threat, we often feel that there is an infinite sense of tomorrow, despite knowing that this experience is irrational.

Surely we are aware that there are limited amount of tomorrow in our lives, but most of the time, that alone does not usually spur us to plan how to spend our limited days wisely. Not until when someone like a doctor start to estimate the amount of days left for you. From then onwards, Time will appear to work differently.

You know one of the most cliché quote ever: ‘live each day like it is your last’ – honestly, if you were to truly practice that mantra as part of your life philosophy, someday, you will be proven right.

Time when you are dying

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

I remembered this lady (let’s call her Lisa), who was at a workshop on how to cope with stress, specifically targeting cancer survivors. She was late when she came into the session, looking flustered and genuinely apologetic. The group was kept intentionally small, so as to allow deeper and more intimate form of sharing among members of the group. When it comes to Lisa’s turn to speak, her sharing literally blew my mind.

Lisa started with an apology, explaining the reason for being late as there was some miscommunication with her helper. Honestly, the background of what happened isn’t crucial; what matters is that the outcome of this miscommunication is such that Lisa wasted a fair amount of time waiting for this helper, which directly caused her to be late for the workshop.

Days like these would sound like a classic annoying morning experience when things don’t go your way… the kind that wouldn’t command any distinctive recollection in your life years down the road. But the impact were a lot different for Lisa.

Her tender emotions swelled into anger as she related wistfully on how time has become so precious to her ever since her oncologist estimated that she probably only has two years of lifespan left. With two young toddlers still under her care, the remarkable degree of disbelief at her misfortune and an overwhelming sense of helplessness is nothing but heart-wrenching. As she continued talking, I learnt that it is not the prospect of dying that pained her; it is a persistent narrative that an untimely death will rob her young children of their mother, whom does not have a choice to decide otherwise and could only focus on fighting her hardest to survive even for one more day just to be with them.

The conversation deepened and meandered into a ‘Why Me?’ theme. Perhaps in the world we live in, good people may die and bad people may still live

Time when you are dying 2

Photo by Edu Grande on Unsplash

I cannot say that I can truly understand how it is like to be in Lisa’s shoes, but surely for someone who is probably around my age group and considered young by cancer’s standard, it sucks big time just thinking about it.

As a mother, the poignant struggle of your children having only a distant memory of how their mother is like in person and her not being able to be a physical part of their major milestone in life is real.

When a poor man dropped a $5 note by accident; he would curse, swear and spit at his ill luck. And so the same goes for wasted time on someone who is dying; when your time becomes limited, every minute matters. You want to make sure that every moment is thoughtfully spent and every encounter is meaningfully experienced.

If time becomes limited, what becomes important for you?

Featured Photo by Aron on Unsplash