I just put down the book "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Tolstoy. The story explores the torment of a dying man who frittered away his life. In his final hours, he had no meaningful deeds to recall, nothing to console him of a life well lived. "Ivan Illych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible". (Tolstoy)
On two occasions in my life, I saw death straight in the face. One was a decade ago when my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly at the age of sixty, brimming with life and with great hopes of enjoying his retirement. The other was when my daughter had a major surgery when she was barely a year old. There was a chance she would not survive.
Since then something in me changed forever. Death was no longer something morbid. Death has become a close companion walking hand in hand with life enhancing every aspect of it;
reminding me of the transience of life;
teaching me gratitude for the precious gift of my own life and that of our loved ones;
keeping me firmly grounded;
urging me to live a meaningful life with small acts of kindness, love and service;
enabling me to die fully to every day to start life afresh again with every dawn.
"Death's stamp gives value to the coin of life; making it possible to buy with life what is truly precious" - Tagore