Thirty days to live



This week one of my friends shared a dream.

In the dream, which she described as half-way between waking and sleeping, feeling so utterly “realistic”, a voice told her:  “You have thirty days to live.  Get your affairs in order.”

She woke up, heart pounding.

She’s feeling pretty darn nervous.

OK, it might just be a dream.

But what if it’s not?

Juicy life

Juicy life

Would you, she asked, want to know if you had thirty days to live? What would you do differently with your life?

Readers, how would YOU answer her question?  Would you take it seriously or would you simply brush it off as metaphorical?

P.S.  I sincerely hope that this is not a prophetic dream for my friend.  I also sincerely hope that you have more than thirty days to live.  But how would this change your perspective?

P.S.S.  I have been thinking about this all week.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in August 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

83 Responses to Thirty days to live

  1. I try to keep my thoughts centered and live in the Here and Now so I don’t overly worry about how much more time I have to live. To me, that’s what this dream was saying. Carpe Diem.

    • Kathy says:

      This sounds like a very good philosophy, regnistegg999. Here and Now is a very wonderful place to live. Thank you for stopping by and sharing!

  2. Kathy – Just yesterday while in the passenger seat with my hand out the window surfing air waves I said to Len, “If this is my last day, I’m okay with that.” I don’t believe I’d change anything, or try to cram something in real quick. I already live on purpose — a balanced combination of DOing and BEing. Do I still have things on my “bucket list?” Sure I do. But I wouldn’t rush out just to get them ticked off. If I get the opportunity to gracefully work those items in during my lifetime. Terrific! If not, I’m good with that too…

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, I wonder how many people can say what you said while your hands were window surfing? To be okay with today as one’s last day…yes! I am okay with that, too, although the Business Manager part of me would like to know in order to pay all the bills, get things organized, etc. (That’s the way a Business Manager thinks, she loves to be organized so much!)

  3. Lori D says:

    Years ago, I had a dream where I was sitting in a restaurant. Someone came up to me and said, “Tomorrow is the day of your death.” As you can see, I’m still here. I don’t know the answer to your question. I don’t have a bucket list. I just hope that somewhere, somehow, I’ve made a difference.

    • Kathy says:

      Really, Lori? Someone really said that? They probably thought they’d give you a heart attack with that statement! Glad to know you’re still here and I am 100% sure you’ve made a difference.

      • Lori D says:

        Hey Kathie, Just in case I wrote it wrong, I thought I better clarify. Someone said that to me in a dream, not in real life. I woke up shaking. And, thank you, I’m glad one of us is sure I’ve made a difference. 🙂

        • Kathy says:

          Hmmm, I think I DID read that wrong, lol! Wonder why I thought it was in “real” life. Guess I was awake in YOUR dream for a moment there. Thank you for clarifying.

  4. Fountainpen says:

    I would take the next breath and then the next and then the next…
    until I would be beyond the need to breathe. I would be there in an
    entirely new and different dimension of life….no breath needed.

  5. Susan D says:

    This is the kind of question I can’t answer. I simply think about it — all of the possibilities — and I just don’t know. I hope it’s not your friends’ last 30 days either, or any of ours. Thanks for making me think!

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Susan Dee! I love that this is an answer-less question. How could we really know before the next moment happened? But it was really interesting to have this question posed by my friend. By the way, she’s your friend, too. Now THAT should get you thinking, lol!

  6. Katalina4 says:

    I had a dream like that – I think I was given 2 weeks. I did set some things in order, looked closely at priorities, and I am still here today but with a keener focus on choices.

    • Kathy says:

      Katalina, how very interesting that you had a similar dream. And that you are still here today to share that with us. My friend would probably be heartened to here that. We advised her to do the same things you did. We asked her if she needed to look at her priorities and choices and if there were some things she needed to set in order. It’s probably going to be an interesting month for her.

  7. debyemm says:

    You really have a knack for blog titles that get me here. I always take the possibility that I won’t be here tomorrow seriously. I would “not believe” an exact 30 days from a dream, or a doctor. However, I would certainly make it the happiest 30 days of my life, just “in case” (and, if, I felt strongly about the dream being predictive, though I would tend to take a dr a “bit” more seriously, but not much more seriously). . . and then, do a reality check on that, when the 30 day time period had expired (no pun intended but allowed). What’s the worst that “allowing the possibility” might do ? For me, only give me a great memory of 30 days well lived. I believe in doing that already, no prediction necessary to spur me on. Life has no guaranteed length to it. It is whatever it turns out to be.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, part of me thinks the very same thing. To make sure that those 30 days were lived to the utmost. That I would spend every minute enjoying those sunrises, sunsets and butterflies and everything in between. To keep my heart open. When my heart would start to close down, I would remember the upcoming death and open it. I love your answer. I am so enjoying reading everyone’s answer. Thank you, my friend!

  8. Vickie Hall says:

    I often work with people who have only a few weeks or months to live. They are in all kinds of states with that. Mostly they have cancer, and are on drugs which make them utterly optimistic about how long they have to live. I would say to those of us whose judgement is not crippled by drug induced euphoria, that we just have no way of knowing how we will feel when the end of our life comes. It’s so unfortunate.. we only really know when we are there. Or maybe it’s fortunate. You see, I just don’t know about anything for sure anymore. And that brings me into the great unknowable now. sigh. (I’ve just made myself laugh, and I guess that’s a really good thing. 🙂 Love your blog. V.

    • Kathy says:

      Vickie Hall, perhaps the greatest wisdom of all is not knowing anything for sure. The great unknowable–if we can get comfortable with any accompanying feelings of shakiness–is what I am leaning on more and more each day. Thank you for commenting! Thank you for sharing and letting me know you exist. Even that is not a small a thing…

  9. Robin says:

    Interesting question. I don’t think I’d do anything different than what I’m already doing except for one thing. I’d find a way to live right next door to my granddaughters so I’d have more time with them before I go. 🙂

    I’m craving strawberries now. Just so you know… lol!

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, oh that is such an interesting answer. What matters most is spending time with your granddaughters. That is so sweet. Like strawberries. (Guess what, we have some in the frig right now. And they are sweet and almost still in season, bless them.) Life, like strawberry season, passes quickly in its impermanence, doesn’t it?

  10. Vickie Hall says:

    ps, When I was about 40 years old, I had three meditation experiences in which a ‘knowing’ came to me that I would die with extreme pain in my heart when I was 49. I was so sure this would happen that I went to a native healer for a confirmation of my 3 visions. The healer did not confirm or deny my experiences. She looked around her little kitchen where we were sitting, and finally she said to me, “Well, you have from today to begin to change all that”. I was about 42 at that point. Many things happened, and in particular, I noticed that whenever I would go under street lamps at night, they would falter and go out. For years this happened. Sometimes whole blocks would go out. I was spooking all my friends with this weird phenomenon. And myself too. My 49th year was keenly observed. I’m now 63, and have no plans of dying anytime soon. At the same time, I always feel close to death.

    • Kathy says:

      Vicky, thank you for adding the ps. (PS’s can be the most profound, can’t they?) Gosh, it sounds like you and I have more than a few things in common. Although street lamps never went out as I passed! The energy was sparking through and around you, girl, as you were awakening. I like what the native healer said. She turned it back to the now. What a perfect answer.

  11. Carol says:

    Tough question. In a way I’d like to know. I’d want to make sure that nothing is left unspoken. I try to live each moment the best I can, but I’m sure I’m not always successful.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, I am enjoying reading all these answers–both the ones where people want to know and don’t want to know. I feel both ways. What I like about your answer is the part about nothing left unspoken. Sometimes we forget and hesitate to share what’s really important. As for living each moment the best–I fail with that, too, even though it’s a deep desire to be transparent and real and present.

  12. Oh, how I love all the comments here. I agree with the philosophy of Carpe Diem – seize the day, every day. I don’t think I’d do anything differently than I how I live now. Just…live each day and enjoy.

    • Kathy says:

      Pam, aren’t the comments awesome? I am enjoying every single one. I think I agree with every one–both those who would want to know and those who wouldn’t. Carpe Diem!! Let’s seize the day, all day, come San Francisco fog or UP clouds!!

  13. Stacy says:

    What do dreams mean? Are they our unconscious selves subtly hinting at us to do….whatever? They certainly make us think.

    For the first time in my life, I am not wishing for that other thing, that other place, that other self, so I don’t think I would hurry up to finish my business. But I would be bummed out. The idea of death pisses me off, quite frankly. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      They do make us think, don’t they Stacy? I don’t like to take them too literally, but also don’t want to ignore them. Our unconscious does offer us so much. I LOVE that you’re not wishing for something “other”! Way to go, Stacy! **even if death pisses you off** I am smiling at your frankness.

  14. dorannrule says:

    I think it is the curse of humans that we know we will die. Knowing exactly when would compound the problem. The trick is to live like the animals who think they will be here forever and who revel in each moment as long as they feel safe, well fed, and are not in pain..

  15. Welllll, I would need to do some mad srambling to get things iin order, but I am hopeful as well as prayerful that I’ll live at least 10 years longer but even more if I have my “right mind” and I’m able to walk without any problem.

    If your friend is healthy then if I were her I would not place any emphasis on the dream. As one commenter wrote, a healer told her that she could change “begnning today.” Maybe it is your friend’s sub conscious telling her to change her life style.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, that could very well be her sub conscious message. She was really thinking hard about her life, that’s for sure. We were all trying to ease her fears though, pointing the focus on just gently looking at what message her unconscious might want to say. Or it could be nothing, who knows?

      May you live 10 years longer, at least, with a very high quality of life.

  16. Sorry, but women pay way too much attention to their dreams, life is short enough as it is without worrying about when the end will come.

    • Kathy says:

      Sounds like you choose to focus on the pragmatic side of life without relying too much on messages the unconscious might be sharing. I wrote down dreams for maybe five years and found lots of hints on how to let go of worry and live a happier life. But I like your ultimate philosophy of not worrying. The moment before us is a special gift.

  17. Heather says:

    Questions of mortality are tough. We all know the end is coming, but we assume like so many things, that it’ll happen to someone else (first). I don’t generally feel like I waste my time – I’ve cut out many things in my life that I felt like really detracted from my quality of life, but if I knew that it was going to be over for me in a short span, I’d do some things differently. And if Tony were going at the end of 30, I’d really do somethings differently. No need to report for a job would free up some time, and no need to save money would unlock some opportunities, too.
    But, since I don’t know, I’ll continue doing what I’m doing: let the past and future inform my present, but don’t spend my time there. And I’d ignore that dream. It doesn’t have much to offer this present moment 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I like how you stated that, Heather: let the past and future inform your present, but don’t spend your time there. That’s a good way of staying in the present moment. I probably wouldn’t have ignored the dream but hopefully it would somehow inform my present moments. And if it didn’t–off with its head! tee hee.

  18. While I still have things on my bucket list, I really don’t want to know if my life will end in 30 days. I have had a pretty good life. I have a wonderful husband who loves me, two great kids, an adorable grandson and have published two novels. I live in a comfortable house in which I can entertain all my friends and family. I have travelled a wee bit (although there are still places I’d like to see). Who could ask for more? Everything else that has yet to happen is just gravy on my potatoes. What about you, Kathy? 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Withershins, your life sounds picture-perfect. Who could ask for more, indeed? As for me, I can see it both ways. That’s probably why this dream-question fascinated me. The Business Manager part would like to know in order to get everything in order. Another part would like to know in order to really feel every minute as precious. However, most of the time I’m living a pretty darn good life just as it is. That part wouldn’t want to know at all. Thank you for asking.

  19. If I had that dream, I would believe I’d been dreaming about a long ago past time, not a premonition about the future. But it would still grab my attention, which is the very nature of those kinds of dreams. The challenge would be that now, in the present and awake, to really know that the future’s ours to create rather than believing that it has already been dictated to us. . . by what? by whom? A dream that could throw me into fear, worry, or even worry would not be something I’d follow as truth.

    • Kathy says:

      Patty, leave it to you to have this perspective! I love it! Just think–that it might have been about the past. No one else *so far* has interpreted it that way. A dream that would throw me into fear or worry would not be valuable to me, either. Only if it could be used for further awakening into this *one wild and precious moment.* Thank you!

  20. I’ve been thinking about life and death a lot lately. I want to start living every day as if I had 30 days left to live. By that, I mean learn to appreciate every moment as special, tell people I love them when they do, not tolerate bullshit, not stress about tomorrow. It’s a challenge, but that’s what I want out of life now.

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, I have heard a lot of people say that. I like your list of what you would do. And I can see you wanting this so much. So do I. Thank you for sharing this.

  21. Barb says:

    Several years ago, I began hearing from old, long-lost friends from my years on the East coast. I jokingly told Bob, “Why are these people contacting me and saying such nice things? Am I going to die?” In the next year, I tore the artery and had the heart attack. I’m sure it was all a coincidence. Enjoy your moments – you just never know.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh gosh, Barb, I will remember never to ask that question when long-lost friends show up and say nice things. But, seriously, you are someone who has faced death seriously. I am listening as you share.

  22. Marko says:

    Hello! I wish you a successful new week.

  23. sybil says:

    If I knew I had thirty days, I would make sure that I smoothed things out with anyone who might feel we had unresolved issues. I am happy to say I never miss the opportunity to tell family and friends “I love you” so that wouldn’t be a problem.

    I’d take my daughter on a holiday and treasure every moment together.

    I would die hoping that I had made a difference by being here.

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, you have made me think for a moment–HAVE I told everyone I love them at least a dozen times recently? Very good point. Is there any way you can take that holiday with your daughter? That would be such a wonderful thing to do. I say–go for it. Life is short. (And you have made a difference. At least in my life.)

  24. coastalcrone says:

    One never knows what the next thirty days will bring. Live each day fully. Good post! I found your blog via Doran.

    • Kathy says:

      Coastalcrone, thank you for coming here via Doran. Do you live down south like she does? You are so right–we never know what the next thirty days will bring.

  25. sonali says:

    Thirty days to live? only thirty? I don’t want to imagine…if this happens.. will I just be sobbing? or will I do things I could ever do? Will I have the heart to do the things I want to do? Or will I just go back home and be silent for all thirty days? Oh Kathy!!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh no, Sonali, I hope you weren’t sobbing as you read this blog post! Yikes! I do not think you would go home and be silent for all thirty days–unless your deepest heart urged you into contemplative silence. I think you would follow your heart and it would lead you where you must go.

  26. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Good grief Kathy – can you warn me before an email comes into my box with “30 days to live”.
    I often think I should live my life as though I only had 30 days left. But then responsibilities take over – sigh

    • Kathy says:

      Kerry, now you know how we felt when my friend shared her dream. It was quite a shocking thought. Sorry to have made your heart beat a little faster with nervousness. I am always discussing “taboo” subjects like death, it seems. This has been good for me to consider. Not sure I would change much, but my friend’s experience provided some intriguing thought.

  27. me2013 says:

    My first though was yes I would want to know, that way I could tell people what I really thought of them 😀 Then I thought no I wouldn’t want to know because I would worry about all the things I hadn’t done and waste what time I did have left doing just that, worrying. Then I thought yes I would, so that I could say a proper goodbye to all the people I love, and then I thought no because that would just hurt too much. Why did you start this one, why did I read it? 😀 😀

    I did have a dream once that I had died, oddly enough when I woke up i wasn’t scared, in fact I felt very calm and peaceful. It was weird.

    • Kathy says:

      Your comment is so funny! My responses were something like yours. It’s hard to say whether we’d want to know or not. It seems like part of ourselves would want to know–and other parts wouldn’t.

      Have heard others speak of dreams of dying and sharing that peaceful feeling, too. I am convinced that we will know a deep calm peace after we die.

  28. lisaspiral says:

    I probably would take it as prophetic, although I hope it’s not. As a cancer survivor I’ve certainly faced versions of this kind of question before. I don’t really accept “for sure”. I believe in the allegory and would take the dream as an opportunity. If your friend lives the next 30 days like they are her last, puts her affairs in order and really tells everyone in her life how much she loves them and how much they mean to her she won’t be the same person at the end of the month. She’ll be at a new beginning with the rest of her life ahead of her and probably a better idea of what she really wants to do with it.

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, I agree with you about taking the dream as an opportunity. It’s a great chance to think about whether she wants to be doing anything additional with her life. (Or anything less.) A great chance for all of us now that we’ve pondered the question. I am so glad you were able to survive your cancer.

  29. Marianne says:

    Your friend’s dream sounds a little perplexing, Kathy. I’ve had the sense that I should get my affairs and relationships in order for a few years now. Sometimes the feeling is stronger than at other times, although I’m not sure why this is so. Sometime after I began feeling this way, I ended up in emerg where the doctor found that I was carrying around two cups of fluid in my heart lining (due to RA). Of course, the fluid had to be removed immediately. The cardiologist said it was very lucky I didn’t have a massive coronary. I have to say that I had been experiencing many symptoms for several months, however my family doctor and the specialists she sent me to couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, hence the reason it became an emergency problem. Anyway, since I had this close to death experience, I have no fears about dying. The part that bothers me the most is my stuff. I don’t want my family to have to deal with it. Another part that bothers is the fact that I wouldn’t be able to speak with my son. So, slowly, I’ve been sorting, recycling and generally getting things in order, but I still feel like I have a long way to go to get everything as I want it. Bottom line: I chip away at preparation tasks while practicing present moment awareness to help keep the mind from having its way with me.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, Kathy! Great topic!

    • Kathy says:

      Marianne, thank you for sharing your thoughts. As someone who has been ill and danced with death over the years, you truly do have a unique perspective to share. I like that your approach is two-fold: practicing present moment awareness AND getting things in order. That feels right–what I’d want to be doing, too. Thank you and always hoping that healing finds you. Or perhaps the peace that passeth and encompasses healing…

  30. P.j. grath says:

    I have a dear friend who recently had news very like this. Not as short notice as 30 days but way too short for her and those who love her. “Life your life,” her doctor said. She’s been doing that right along and continues to do it in the most brave and cheerful way, astonishing the rest of us.

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, your friend sounds like she’s at peace. It can be such a testimony for others to witness this brave peace. I would hope to be this way, too. Hopefully wouldn’t be whining and carrying on… Thank you for sharing this.

  31. Hey Kathy!

    It’s funny because I have recently taken a dream interpertation class and many dreams are prophetic. I believe that her dream is a prophetic dream but not necassarily literal. Many dreams symbolize an area in your life or a situation in your life that could have “thirty days to live”. It does not mean that she, herself has thirty days to live. It could mean the spiritual condition in which she is living…or a matter of the heart. There could be many things but this dream isnt one to be taking literally, if not symbolically. Is there something going on in her life that she needs to fix before her heart goes numb maybe? Or is there someone she needs to get right with before everything goes awry? …hope i could help. 🙂

    Aka gurl on a mission

    • Another important thing to look at is how the dream made her feel…you said she’s nervous. Is there an area in her life that makes her nervous or scared in any way or something that she is struggling with ? Maybe there’s going to be freedom from that area, but only if she does something about it…

      • Kathy says:

        Unfortunately, I probably won’t be seeing her again before the 30 days is up, so I won’t be able to pass this along, Nicole. She is a friend, but not a really close friend. We all tried to share our thoughts as much as we could that night, though. I like the way you look deeply at things like this.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Nicole, especially after your dream interpretation class. I think we did try to reassure our friend that it probably wasn’t literal…but who knows? She was thinking deeply about any areas that needed to be examined when we last saw her. Appreciate your help!

  32. Dawn says:

    30 days? That would be hard…not enough time to get to everyone I’d want to see. I’ve thought about this a lot actually, with both parents leaving unexpectedly…that they didn’t know that morning they weren’t coming home. But I can’t live like everything is going to end so soon. I have to live the life I have the best I can and hope it’s good enough.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, you are right, your parents certainly didn’t have time to get their affairs in order. I think many people would be bogged down by this knowing. Other people would be inspired to live even more. It’s certainly been interesting reading everyone’s thoughts.

  33. bearyweather says:

    Saying goodbye is an extremely hard thing for me, so knowing would be torture for me.
    I believe dreams are our subconscious talking to us .. I no longer remember dreams (I don’t know where that ability went). This dream would be a good reminder to me that there are things I still need to take care of to make my passing easier on others (like writing a will). I know financial matters are far from important when it comes to living a good life, but having things worked out is a gift for those I leave behind.
    It is also (like so many comments here point out), a reminder to make the most of each day. I am saddened by the thought of starting school again in a few weeks … where did the summer go? why is my to-do list not done? Did I make the most of each day? (similar questions could be asked of life itself) The answer is no, I didn’t … I relaxed, I took time to do nothing, I wasted time? yes, that makes me feel guilty … however, when i take time to think about it I realized that it makes me feel better – I am doing things that I enjoy and will not be able to do shortly when work starts. I may be different then many other people, because that quiet down time is precious and fun to me … I think it is society that makes me feel guilty about not running through life in the fast lane doing and doing … .

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Bearyweather~~thank you for sharing your thoughts. If saying goodbye is a torture for you, it would probably be better NOT to know!!

      I used to write down lots of dreams every night and remembered so many of them. Now that I don’t write them down or consciously call them back–it’s really hard to remember.

      You know, sometimes I think relaxing is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and the planet. Don’t let your mind and society try to convince you otherwise! Enjoy the last days of relaxation before your school year starts…

  34. Janet says:

    30 days isn’t enough, I wouldn’t want to know. But if I had to know, I’d gather my family and spend all my time with them, hopefully somewhere in the mountains.

    • Kathy says:

      Janet, that sounds just like you! I can imagine you hiking up in Yosemite and enjoying that precious time with your loved ones. (And since you do this quite often, it wouldn’t even be that unusual.)

  35. Elisa says:

    I have been thinking about keeping my thoughts to myself about the thirty days, nearly for the thirty days. What a waste 😀
    Here is what I read within the span of hours between locating the post and your own posting. I agree with a lot of it, or as much as I ever do agree, more than just watching and pondering a thing. The article is called: Seeking Success

  36. Pingback: Don’t Let Your Bucket List Get in the Way of Life | Travel. Garden. Eat.

  37. helene moore says:

    My bucket is is things I have accomplished.
    And my motto is enjoy each day with as little stress as possible.
    And to keep love and kisses in your life.

  38. Joanne says:

    Gosh Kathy, I don’t know how I would answer this question! I’ve just been sitting here trying to imagine this situation that your friend is in and can understand how scary it must be for her to have that dream, but I can’t put myself in that situation to come up with an answer! I’d probably disregard it as “just a dream”, I think….

    • Kathy says:

      Joanne, I am thinking her 30 days must be up by now. I haven’t heard of her demise, so I’m pretty sure it was “just a dream”….but maybe she was able to use this dream to appreciate her life even more.

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