Do Not Resuscitate Order
He told me the details weren’t important, but he offered to ask me the question that had come out of the experience.
“It’s big,” he said, “Are you absolutely certain you want it?”
I could feel the icicle-butterfly sensations of fear in my stomach, but I could also feel a heightened sense of excitement and alertness all over me.
“Yes,” I said.
“Okay,” he said, “Imagine you’re on your deathbed.”
I gulped. “Okay.”
He said it might be today or tomorrow or fifty years from now, but whenever it was, imagine that he came to visit me on my deathbed.
He asked me to picture him standing beside the bed, telling me goodbye. From this perspective, he said, ask yourself this question:
“Was your life a complete success?”
He continued: “You might say ‘Yes, my life has been a complete success’ or you might say ‘No, my life has not been a complete success.’”
“Right,” I said, intrigued by the direction this was taking.
“If you said ‘No, my life was not a complete success,’ you would have some reasons why it wasn’t. For example, J. Paul Getty, who was the wealthiest man in the world, said on his deathbed, ‘I’d gladly give up all my millions for one experience of marital happiness.’ If he’d been given a wish, that’s what he would have wished for.”
I was fascinated by what he was saying, but I could also feel a growing sense of anxiety in my belly. What did all this have to do with me?