A friend's mother died recently. A sudden death, a death of one too young. My friend told me about those last few days, her mother on a ventilator, in an intensive care unit, tracheotomy in place. She said that her mother used the written word to communicate. Two days before she died, her mother frantically signaled for her notebook and wrote the word 'Jam'. Faced with the collective incomprehension of her near and dear, she explained that by her calculations (she had been hospitalized for close to a month by this time) the supply of jam in the house must be running low and needed to be replenished.
Jam. What clearer indication of a life well lived? If ever I find myself in critical care, forced to live on what may well be borrowed time, this is what I would wish for myself. May I live my life such that at the end of it my one concern is jam. That I have no regrets but that the level of jam in the jar may slip below whats acceptable and there will be no one to notice. That I have loved so well, there is nothing left unsaid. That if I have children, I have done such a good job with them, that if my only message to them is top up the jam jar, they will want for nothing.
To all those out there whom I love, and even those whom I just about like - here's wishing you a jar of strawberry jam on your death bed.