When the Netflix envelopes arrive at our house, it’s often a potpourri of strange movie picks. This week was no exception. I’m not sure I had ever seen the movie, “On the Beach” from 1959-a classic I guess- but I can’t seem to get away from hospice thoughts!
This is a story depicting life after the world’s final war poisoned the earth with radiation, and the remaining people in Australia are awaiting the drift to reach their soil and water supply, knowing that they, too, will perish. There is a scene in the movie with people standing in a long line waiting for the government issued pills to have on hand, the medication that will end life when a person gets the signs of radiation sickness, in order to avoid a slow, painful death. There are multiple scenes of people “eating, drinking and making merry”, knowing they have only a short time left. There are people who find ways to love each other in spite of the futility of beginning new relationships. There are people who don’t have a clue how to let go, or say goodbye. It’s Hollywood’s version of the “six month to live test”.
What would you do, where would you go, who would you live with, if you only had six months to live?
And in the end, how would you say goodbye? (You know, those five things to say: I’m
sorry, please forgive me, I will miss you, I love you, and Goodbye?) I’m impressed when Hollywood makes a movie that doesn’t have a happy ending, and considers the thought that we will all die, perhaps by some mass disaster, but in the end, on our own… and how we go, well….that’s still pretty individual.
I have seen so many goodbyes and said a few myself, but not my own final one. Another movie, another quote, (from Life of Pi), “I’ve left so many behind…I suppose in the end the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye”. We have moments to practice and reminders NOW, so when our time comes, perhaps it will be more beautiful than painful, more graceful than grasping, and in fact just a dot in our own continuum of what we were, what we are, and what we will become.