This week my momma took me to spend time with a nice gentleman who would soon be passing from this world. He was not upset, more so he was engaged and interested in making decisions that ultimately would affect his life. I spent four days with Anthony, a gentleman of 87 years of age. Anthony was the last living sibling of his family, and he had no children or significant other, so he was singular as he passed from this world...yet he was not alone.
On the first day as I sat with Anthony, he called me "dog." He said, "Hi, dog" and asked "are you hungry, dog" as he offered me pieces of his morning breakfast, a sweet smelling banana. Anthony told me his plans to withdraw his medication and explained that he was well aware of the impact of his decision. He said, "Dog, I've seen a lot and I've lived my mission in this life, so it is time to go on to the next."
Over the series of 4 days, Anthony stopped calling me "dog" and started calling me "Mattie."
On the last day I spent with Anthony he said, "Mattie, you have to have a mission in life. You just can't go willy-nilly through this life," and then he went on to tell me very personal stories of his many adventures. The telling of his life was hard for Anthony, each breath a little more labored than the last. But I learned that Anthony had seen wars, visited far off lands, married out of love, raised children, and suffered great loss. Yet through all of the ups and downs, and from what he told me he had experienced great downs, Anthony was a man who knew how to smile and laugh with life. I spent the last days of Anthony's life with him, listening to his stories, feeling his warm embrace, licking his hand and gently cuddling him when he would signal me to come to his side.
On Saturday, I received a little card in the mail. The card was from Anthony and it said, "Mattie, you know your mission in life, and for this I am grateful. Your friend, Anthony." My friend Anthony lived his mission, and was pleased. I am living my mission and hope to spread peace. I encourage you to understand your mission and live it to its fullest... with joy, with love and with meaning.
Much love, Mattiedog
Listen to Mattiedog's February 28, 2010 Podcast