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August 10
When I figure it out I'll add it, one blog at a time. I illustrated "Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks" written by Lea Lane. You can get it at Amazon and on Kindle!


BuffyW's Links

MARCH 24, 2011 12:17PM

Defining Your Moment

Rate: 35 Flag

Sitting at the kitchen table the other night I absently look up at the clock over the pantry door.  It’s 7:47 and I’m having my dinner. Nothing unusual.   Remembering I have an atomic clock (ironically I think) which self-adjusts during daylight savings times I turn to look over my shoulder wondering if I had bothered to change the manual clock I just looked at.  For a confused moment I see the time 8:47 thinking I am eating awfully late.  Then the clarity of the situation hit, I was quite literally in the time between now and then, or before and after.  


Spreading another piece of my bread with some olive/artichoke tapinade I picked up at Sunday’s Farmer’s Market I was acutely aware of how (on this particular morning) I defrosted the bread with the full intention of having it tonight along with said tapinade.  Alone.


If we are fortunate we won’t have to die alone.  I thought of a particular video of some Japanese people running just a few seconds ahead of the tsunami when they all just stopped.  My heart quickened and I remembered yelling something like, “KEEP RUNNING” foolishly thinking they could have heard me.  Apparently they stopped to pick up someone with them who...fell, was disabled, gave up??  I don’t know, but they were not going to leave the person behind.  I cried when they picked up and carried him/her away.  


Soon my mind drifted off to the days when my husband was alive and in a wheelchair.  I know without a doubt I would have been the one behind pushing him away from danger.  I know also we would have been overtaken by the tsunami together.  I would have been okay with that scenario.  It is being all alone at the end which is frightening to me.


I now understand why you have a last meal, or even a last cigarette.  It is because it gives you some finite time to come to grips with whatever things are set in motion.  Perhaps in those several moments just before the something good is coming, or more likely, the something bad on your short horizon you will have sorted out in your heart and mind what is coming.  You have time to come to grips with it good or bad. You have time to make peace with it. 


Defining your moments is a wise and good idea.  The grace with which you do so is also important.  This has never been clearer to me than now, knowing what the Japanese people (actually all people who are living there) are facing halfway around the world.  We should all have such clarity, such acceptance.


I will not adjust my manual clock, keeping it in the past just may keep me grounded even as I move ahead.  Remembering and accepting, come what may. 


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Defining my feed moment.
Interesting thoughts. I've been practicing living in the moment myself. The Power of Now by Tolle is particularly informative and has helped me understand just what you are saying here, B. I watched those people stop running too. I didn't see the water overcome them, the film ended before that happened... but I can't see that it ended any other way. Why did they stop? I hope it was in acceptance of something, not in a loss of hope. Great post.
Buffy, I think if you know you are going to die you kind of prepare some how.. BUT not knowing.. I think it is all spontaneous and depending on what kind of person you are you do the right thing.
I know you would have done your utmost, I truly do.
rated with hugs
Lovely post. Wonderful thoughts.
I have nothing wonderful to add to this post. I just wanted you to know this stuck with me, and I will be thinking about it all day.r
You kickstarted my brain with this--just what I needed.
Do I want to know I'm going to die so I can prepare? Not necessarily. A quick death seems to me better and having to think about my death. But, either way, death doesn't scare me.
I agree with Abby. Tolle's book brought me up short and helped me define what is important--and WHEN it is important. I have had what is often described as "near death" experiences. I had two when I was a teenager. Time stops. Realization of the truth hits. Calm settles over you, even in the midst of the horror of the situation. And you surrender. So if I am given that moment before my actual death..if I can see it coming..I know exactly what to expect. I guess I am fortunate at that, because there is no longer any fear.
Perhaps we can't really define our moment until the moment before death. It seems to me that most people won't understand the meaning of life until shortly before it leaves. I'm hoping to "get it" way before that happens. My appreciation for life definitely increases with age.
It seems to me that death is not nearly as hard as the acceptance of death. There have been two times in my life when I was positive that death was about to take me; once in war and once by my own hand. I was wrong on both counts, but the thing is, once I accepted the fact of immenent death, then everything else was easy.
Shame on me..I read the obits and my hubby asks why, I am just always amazed at how young women fall over at 53... I am grateful for my healthy years and it makes me want to do more for my health. Good insight here.
Interesting take on life (and death.) Kudos, Sheila.
I like the way all these pieces come together in this post Buffy. I am hoping that if I do get some time to know I am going, I will have the grace to embrace it and not deny it. Till then I guess we will run as fast as we can in front of that wave. Well done.
I like the way you lead us through your thinking process here, Sheila, to conclusions both wise and compassionate. You've given me a lot to think about, which I'm doing right now. I don't think I'll turn the clock in my truck back, tho, as that likely would get me in trouble.
Profoud words, Sheila.
I have felt --twice-- an acceptance, a reality of death. I have passed these points for now, but know that eventually death will catch us all. Meanwhile, I prefer to live to the fullest.
Buffy, this is just so beautiful and wise...I have come to terms with death...through grief...I am not afraid...and I also think I will live to be very old...I have always thought that...xox
I know with Karen as you know with Lance, if given the gift of knowing ahead of time, some things can be said and done, chapters closed, forgiveness offered or accepted, wishes made known, love spoken over and over. More time or no time we all go in our own way and I like your wish for clarity and defining our moments, especially for those who go on living. Very comforting, thoughtful, Zen post.
Sheila. I get it.
I'm worried about your manuel clock now. You can't stop or control time. Life is so much more than what the clock says. I think we do face death alone. In that last breath it is just you and peace. Some try to go together and I hope they see each other again in the big ocean of existence but we just don't know I hope so tho. I do.
This is a touching piece, a great analysis of time, how we define it and what we see when we see it's end for ourselves. Good post.
Staying grounded, by whatever means, is important, especially during such "interesting times" as these. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject.
I have no words, just sending lots of love your way.
Reading this gave me a different understanding of defining moments - one I had not considered before. I'll take this with me, thank you Sheila.
Thank you for saying the unsayable thing out loud.
Realistically thinking, we all die alone. But it is what we do while we are living that erases our aloneness. Wonderful, thought provoking post. -R-
Liked your sentiments fellow Buffy (W version)!

Very thought provoking and emotional. I lost a friend unexpectedly last year. She died in a snowboarding accident. She was 43 and left behind a very stunned husband and two children who have spent the better part of this past year trying to navigate their way to a new normal with what I hope will not be a permanent surprised look on their faces. I think the death of a loved one is shocking and difficult whether we anticipate it or not. And in the end, we all are born alone, and die alone. But the memories of the company we keep in between...that's something we can hold onto. I am sending you thoughts of peace while you are adjusting to this new time change, and wishing you many new friends and loves in your life who will enjoy with you the simple miracles of every day, like olive tapenade on bread.
Wonderful writing and very thought provoking. Classic Buffy!
i fully understand.
been there, done that, got too many t-shirts anyway.

i think you are still anolone by choice.

it's obivious that you've been hit on as many times as a though you were made by a blacksmith.

all that beauty and one of the most wonderful brains i've ever met.
Beautiful and touching post. Wish you lived close, you could come over for dinner. R
I know you will be so proud of me that I found this entry of yours, even though you told me it was on the other site...just took me a little time...

But, you are right. I love this. It is classic Nada...very beautifully said. Moments...something to ponder. ;-)
This is so timely and good to really practice. thanks for defining this moment here.
Buffy, I feel that we are never alone despite our feelings that we are. It's very late and I cannot exactly explain this logically. But there is alone and there is a profound connection to others, alive or dying or dead. We all underestimate how many we carry inside us, and vice versa. You of all people, know this, if not at the moment you wrote. It was just a moment. love
I've been gone for 10 days and this was the first post I chose to read. Very thought provoking. The Japanses are a great example of that grace and acceptance. thanks shelia.
I too wonder if I'll be alone at the end. If so, may I have the grace to accept it.
I like to think that many of us, when we are faced with an inevitable, accept it with grace and courage, often we didn't even know we had.