The Beauty of the End

By Susana Greenberg

old couple looking a sunset

It’s like reaching your destination and reliving the adventure and then putting it in your memory bank to be pulled out any time you want. Laughing and smiling at that memory—or wondering how you made it out alive from that adventure. The beauty of hindsight. To have the courage to walk the adventure of the unknown. To walk the path of the end. Conscious dying is not for the faint of heart. It is hard work. It is sad, it is funny, it is a time to live in the moment, to really understand the present. To review your life—the good, bad, ugly, and the pretty. The last adventure of this life: the beauty of the end. All the social rules are thrown out. You can have cocktails at 9:00 a.m. You can have ice cream whenever you want, even for breakfast. You can stay up all night watching old movies and sleep during the day. You can wear your tiara 24/7 in your pajamas. You can have heart-to-heart talks with people . . . only if you want to. You can call up long-lost friends to say thank you, I love you, or I’m sorry . . . only if you want to. You can get to the polling booth in a wheelchair, if you want to. You can have parties going around you, even if you are sleeping most of the time. You can have your favorite heavy metal music blaring, if you want to. And you can lie quietly holding hands with people and speaking with your touch and eyes. If you want to. You can plan your funeral. You can write your obituary You can, you can, you can. If you want to, if you want to, if you want to. Which to me, is the Beauty of the End.

Bio. Susana Greenberg is a retired geriatric nurse practitioner specializing in hospice and palliative care. She escaped the 2017 Sonoma County fires to San Antonio and enjoys riding her motorcycle throughout Mexico. This piece was written spontaneously using the title as a prompt.

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