Are You Prepared for the Worst? Tomorrow Is Not Promised

Last week, a loyal patient of mine came to see me at the clinic. I have known her for over five years, but I haven’t seen her in seven months. She was visibly upset.

She was healthy the last time I saw her. But now she is dying.

prepared

Malignant cervical cancer. Spread all over her body. She was crying and scared. What do you say to a person in that place? How do you process death with them?

I gave her a hug and prayed with her. I told her I love her and I will be here for her during this difficult time. When I drove home that night I asked myself, What if I were facing that situation? Would I be prepared?

Life Is Not Permanent

It’s interesting how we all live as if our lives are permanent. We dismiss the idea that we will get sick or die. It’s very difficult to confront the truth that the people close to us will do the same. Even our own children could die before we do. I know it’s harsh, and you may even wonder why I would write about such a grim topic in a leadership blog…

As leaders we must be resilient. Life is tough. Too tough sometimes. Those who have the courage to face inevitable and very possible realities do much better when devastating events occur. Twitter_logo_blue In our lifetimes, it is not if bad things will happen, but when.

Preparing Is Not Pessimistic

In medical school we learned about children whose parents died when they were very young. When the children know their parents will die, say in twelve months, therapists help the children go through a pre-death grieving process. Then when the parent passes away, the transition is not as difficult for the child.

There are bad things for which we cannot predict or prepare. But there are many things for which we can. Will we choose to?

Preparing for the worst is not pessimistic. Knowing I could be diagnosed with terminal cancer at any time actually positions me to live a much richer life.

I could die tomorrow from a heart attack or a car accident. Keeping that fact close to me (not to depress me, but to alert me), causes me to value my relationships more,  to value my connection with God more, and to fight for my passions more. And when that day comes, hopefully I will be more prepared, more able to withstand the pressures on my soul.

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

For Further Reading:

What Is Your Life Purpose?
Lesson From a Dying Patient

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2 Comments
  • Lupe Gonzalez
    Posted at 11:42h, 12 October Reply

    That was a very deep post Dr. W, I had a brother who died of cancer, I’ve seen him suffering and I didn’t know what I could do for him. I prayed for him, helped raise money for my family who was going through a hard time. I never had the chance to tell him that I loved him because I thought he would be here a lot longer than he was.You were right in saying ” Life is not permanent.”

    • Wes Saade
      Posted at 04:31h, 21 October Reply

      Wow, thank you so much Lupe for sharing!

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