I woke up at 8 o’clock this morning (late for me) and just lay there—-blank, thinking nothing, just laying there— then the word “purpose” entered my mind. Why should I get out of bed? Why not just stay in bed all day? Why do I NEED to get out of bed? What do I NEED to do? I NEED a purpose to get out of bed. I realized, because of Covid, my sense of purpose has vastly diminished.
One of the many things I learned from my patients as they approached the end of their life was we all need a purpose to get out of bed each morning. A purpose, a job, a something to do with meaning, to begin our day, to move forward into our living.
When someone has told you you can’t be fixed, that sooner than you expected you will die, your reason for living, your purpose, that which fills your time each day, is changed. All the ideas and ideals you thought were important come under new scrutiny—what is important, what is not.
In the months before my mother’s death I worked hard to help her find purpose. Making a hook rug for her granddaughter’s new baby (the baby that my mother would never see) became her purpose. I have suggested for others to make tape recordings, write memories, sort family albums, pictures, to find a project, a reason to get up in the morning
As death gets closer the interest in everything decreases and eventually as withdrawal progresses the project is put aside, often left undone BUT while it lasted it served a purpose. It was a reason to get out of bed each morning.
Most of us are not knowingly facing the end of our life (although really each day is a day closer to our death and it would behove us to be aware of that) but the pandemic did end a way of life we were living. It stopped our routines, our habits of daily living and forced us to reexamine how we are living our lives, what is important to us, how do we just survive.
For some their job (healthcare workers, service industry workers) pushed their purpose to their limits. It wasn’t what do I get up for but how can I get up for this overwhelming responsibility forced upon me. It questioned their purpose- why am I doing this?
Then there are those of us forced to shelter, to disconnect, to stop what we were doing. Again to question our purpose—not why am I doing this but what can I do while this is happening?
I’m surprised it has taken me a year for the word “purpose” to enter my mind. The year of 2020 changed everyone’s sense of purpose, made everyone question their reason for getting out of bed each morning.
Something More about... A Reason To Get Out of Bed
If you or someone you know has an unfixable disease, I suggest my booklet A Time To Live: Living With A Life Threatening Illness.