Shortness of life should spur us to make our dreams come true

Lasha Morningstar


June 27, 2016

Life is finite. Easy to read that little sentence, isn't it? It is true. It is factual.

But it seems to be one of those realities that never apply to oneself - that is, until a close friend or relative dies.

It can also come to the forefront when someone starts talking about their bucket list. These are things a person wants to do before they reach the end of their days. Usually their wishes delight their senses.

Practicality usually is never included, things like trotting to the lawyer and making out a will that includes trust funds for children and/or pets.

Instead, people put down wishes, wishes that they do not make time or do not have money for in today's economic see-saw world.

I had thought it a wonderful idea - for everyone else. For myself, I never even paused to believe it would be possible to make my wishes come true. Then I gave my head a shake. That is what a bucket list is all about.

Make your dreams come true.

One dream I have always had even since I first heard about him when I was a child was to visit my Uncle Blake's grave in France. He had been shot down in the Second World War.

Another is to venture to the Ottawa Valley and see my paternal ancestors' homestead. A huge log dwelling with outdoor stables, it was known as Foy's Stopping Over Place.

As I write this down, I realize I had written about things that happened in the past.

Being in touch with one's roots is healthy and wise. In fact, one of my things-to-do is to send away for a DNA test that tells you your genetic make-up. For many, finding out they have an ancestor from a previously unknown race can be startling, revealing, downright delightful.

Frivolity comes into play too.

One of my greatest wishes is to see a Marc Chagall exhibition, especially of his dream paintings. His work enchants many. He restores my soul.

Even if I won the Lotto, there is probably no chance of my ever buying one of his works. To buy a print would be possible but usually only the original will do.

I once saw the original Georgia O'Keefe's Water Lily in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Compare the original to a print of her work, and there is no comparison. The museum colour vibrates to the point you want to reach out and caress a petal.


I would like to discover where my Irish ancestors lived, visited, trod on their paths, prayed in their church. I also want to journey to Jerusalem, and walk where Jesus walked.

Fanciful? Maybe. But one must always have dreams.

Harken back to my original statement. The fragility of life is further underlined by the utterances of those on their deathbeds. Almost always it is the action they did not take, the road they did not travel, the emotions they did not share.

Regrets. They poison the future if they are not dealt with promptly and judiciously.

The push for these thoughts comes from the recent deaths of two of North America's heroes - Muhammed Ali and Gordie Howe. These brave souls, no doubt, had few if any regrets.

The last time I had this compelling push to make a to-do-before-I die list was when Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died within six days of each other in 1997.


The Edmonton Journal's brilliant cartoonist Malcolm Mayes captured the evocative gentleness and profound goodness of these two women who cared for others in a drawing showing Mother Teresa guiding Princess Diana to heaven's gate.

Certainly one could poke holes in any of these people's lives. They were human, humans who marched to their own drummer. What made them heroes is the good they did, the spotlight they shone on those who were less fortunate, situations that needed to be stopped or corrected.

In truth, when someone of stature or someone from our family or a close association dies, we are forced to look at our own lives. Too often, we turn the newspaper page or hurry through the funeral.

Too bad. Because these are the pauses in life that allow us to realign our lives, to adjust our life path so one has as few regrets as possible.

(Lasha Morningstar