I had the pleasure of giving a talk to a group of elderly people yesterday on the subject of bereavement. This was in connection with the bereavement support work I have been involved with for some years for a national bereavement charity. Bereavement can be a taboo subject and some people are not comfortable thinking or talking about death and dying. However death is part of life and grief is a natural and healing process. I enjoyed the brief time that I spent with this group of elderly people, some of them had had remarkable lives.
It only seemed right that at the conclusion of a talk on death and bereavement to then share with the group the poem “I’d Pick More Daisies” by Nadine Stair aged 87 years, the wonderful poem Nadine wrote which looked back on her life and how she might have lived her life differently if she were to live her life over again:
If I had my life to live over, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would be crazier. I would be less hygienic. I would take more chances. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones. You see I am one of those people who lives prophylactically and sanely and sensibly, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I have had my moments and, if I had to do it all over again, I’d have more of them. In fact I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after the other, instead of living so many years ahead each day. I have been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it all again, I would go places and do things and travel lighter than I have. If I had to live my life over I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would play hooky more. I wouldn’t make such good grades except by accident. I would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I’d pick more daisies.
For me this poem is about living without regrets – fully engaging with life, making each day count, with the knowing that our earthly journey will inevitably one day come to an end.