I have an interest in capturing oral history. Recently, I had the honour to sit with a 91 year old (with dementia) discussing the highlights of his life. A week later this soul passed away, and the memory of our conversations have felt hauntingly beautiful.
The opportunity to lay out your life for another is a unique chance to re-examine and explain what your journey has been about.
I heard what had touched his soul the most; what he would never forget and the key moments that changed his life’s direction. To learn about a journey, (unknowingly) so close to its end, and hear honest reflections and gratitude towards past experiences and life lessons is a humbling experience.
It reminds me that we are not here forever, and every second should be savoured and acted through with caution – for most of us, however old we get – and even if we suffer with memory loss – are likely to remember our milestone moments well.
The truth is any moment can become a milestone moment; and days that I am sure he expected to start and end ordinarily, became extraordinary before he could comprehend them. With this in mind, I shall try (even more) to live each moment with authenticity and contentment – happy in how I have lived, and able to come to terms with situations I wish could have ended up differently – for we can only control our own actions.
I hope that if one day I have the privilege to live to 91, and am able to share my story with the youngsters around me, that I can speak as enthusiastically, with as much wisdom and eternal gratitude for a life well lived, as this enlightened soul did.