A Catholic Monthly Magazine

My Bucket List

by Anne Kerrigan

“One day your life will flash before
your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.” 

“Die with memories, not with dreams.” Anon.

One hears many people talk about their bucket list; all the things they want to accomplish or do before they die. There are books and movies about the subject as well as a zillion quotes about that same theme. Of course, bucket lists become more topical as one get older because time becomes a critical element.

What if I run out of time before I accomplish some of the items on my compilation of things to do? Age compels you to consider your personal bucket list. Certainly, a near death experience will also compel one to look at things done and undone. At this point, I have the age issue to consider since I am in my ninth decade of life. Additionally, my horrific bout with Covid in March 2020 has also made me really internalise the fragility of life. The subject of my bucket list looms large, and here is what I have discovered about myself.

I was certain that I was going to die due to Covid, and my life really did flash before my eyes. During my surprising and prolonged recovery, I had ample time to review what I had gone through, and it was truly a deathbed experience. Primarily, I was overwhelmed with gratitude by the fact that I was still alive. Life is so precious! Then, I became more acutely aware of all the goodness in my life. I hardly know how to enumerate the many blessings I have experienced over the course of my life; I would run out of superlative adjectives. Family, siblings, friends, faith, career, travel, neighbourhood, health, husband, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews have all come together to enrich my life beyond measure. Over the course of my life I have tried to let all the people in my life know I loved them, and I hope they felt that love. As for me, I have felt surrounded by love for my entire life. What could I possibly put on a bucket list? 

Even with so many gifts, there is the pain and sadness of losing loved ones, including my daughter, Kathleen. Yet, the joy of those loved ones far outweighs their loss. It is all just part of life’s marvellous journey, and I choose to focus on the joy. So, as my life flashed before my eyes, I felt my life was worth watching. That awareness has brought me great personal peace. I will die with gratitude and with treasured memories, enveloped by the love of so many. 

I have no bucket list. I have had it all. 

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