I want to live alive…



Yesterday, I smuggled a four pack of Cabernet, a dark, salty chocolate bar, and a couple of wine glasses into the hospital to visit my friend, who is battling cancer. She was delighted that I actually did the brazen thing she suggested, and we proceeded to spent the cold, drizzly afternoon in her private room, talking about the past, the present and the future.

As we sat sipping wine and nibbling chocolate, we shared some painful things and asked some big questions, which neither of us have the answers for. She has decided to stop the chemo treatments — unless the next specialist tells her that a significant amount of time will be added to her life, if she will endure another round.  She hasn’t given up — she just wants to trust God for the outcome.

She doesn’t want to live sick. She wants to live alive.
She is making plans for whatever time is left — who to see and what to do — whether there are many days and years left— or few.

She is brave and new. Her hair is maybe a 1/4 inch long all over her head and she sits bold and braless, laughing out loud in her hospital bed. She is forced to stay there until she is safe to move, for fear of dislodging a huge blood clot looming just under her rib cage. She is as human as a human can be, there is no pretense — and she is gorgeous.

Her face is all I can see today — our hearts are connected and I am in constant prayer. I find myself looking over the landscape of my life. How would I spend my last days? I want to live alive.

I would make my last days lovely for my family
I would light all the candles and bring all the flowers in.
I would saturate the air with beautiful music.

I would stop.
I would stop and listen.

I would wear expressions that penetrate the skin and make their way to the soul.
I would look long into the eyes of those I love and they would experience acceptance.
They would remember and know how they are valued and treasured.
I would give meaningful hugs — like the one I got when I left the hospital yesterday.

I would eat food around the table, laughing with those I love.
I would know that sharing a meal together is sacred.
I would not rush away.

I would understand that things are things.
They are only precious when they are a part of our traditions.

I would savor.
I would not gulp.
My actions and activities would have meaning.

My bed would be luscious.
I would have very few clothes in my closet.
I would not worry about what I look like —
I would worry more that I might miss moments pretending to be pretty,
and neat,
and all put together.

I would learn to breathe what is.
I would not to dwell on what isn’t.

I would forgive.
I would ask forgiveness of those I have hurt and rejected.
I would forgive those that have hurt and rejected me.
I would see the pain that motivates the walking wounded.
I would look through all the contorted manifestations,
and I would find the wounds,
and touch them with God’s love.

In my last days, would I forgive myself?
Would I go to the pain that motivates me?
Would I look with grace upon my own contorted manifestations?
Would I allow God’s love to permeate and heal what hurts deep inside?
Would I do that in my last days?

Could I do that today?


Photo by: Eugene Nikiforov

23 thoughts on “I want to live alive…

  1. That was just stunning. Years ago, I had a cancer diagnosis. I spent the first days sobbing, then angry, then I just decided to live each day to the fullest and trust in God. It was early stage, and within months I was back to work. My viewpoint never changed and for that, my life is much richer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find myself counting my blessings also and I count the blessing of having you as my friend twice. Thank you for being you. You make the world a better place because I see Jesus in you. ❤️ Praying for your friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Catherine, This is beautiful😘 Suzanne is truly Sonshine. You are an amazing writer and friend. I’m honored to be called your friend.

    Hugs Brenda

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are beautiful from the deepest inside to the outside skin… You speak such meaningful words that heal and forge canyons. You are truly abba fathers little girl. Suzanne is living life more fully after your visit yesterday mrs Whittier.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Speechless. Thank you ❤ ❤ ❤ I'm just going to soak in your comment. Just one correction- it is I who am living more fully after my visit. I want to live beautifully and don't want to gulp and take for granted — but I do.


  5. In my last days, I hope my friends and family are as bold as you were when you smuggled a bit of happiness to your friend. What a precious gift you gave your friend by just being there…the wine and chocolate were just added indulgences. And yes, I want to live alive…fully present, fully engaged….to be where I am. And I want to do it now……. Beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: I want to live alive… | Humanity is Action

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  9. I came to this post after reading “Suzanne’s Tattoo.” Your wisdom and insights are precious. Your love for your friend is deep and true. And the inspiration that rises and sparkles from your writing endures, reminds, comforts and engages. Thank you for your special thoughts.


    • Oh- what beautiful affirmation I have received through your comment. Thank you for following the link. Suzanne wanted the world to read those words and take them to heart. It’s really strange how I never gave that much thought until now. I feel the heartbeat of the message she left behind. There is such power in our words. Thank you for sharing yours ❤


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