A few years ago, a Facebook friend updated her status, “If only I knew last time was indeed the last time”, she was talking about the last meeting she had with her grandmother. Her grandmother had passed away soon after. This got me thinking. If she knew that last time was indeed the last time, would she have behaved differently?
I got the chance to stay with my baby sister for four days before she left for abroad to settle there. We did everything that we used to do in childhood – sharing the same dinner plate, going out for morning walks, binging on brownies, etc. All the time that we spent together, I very well knew that this would be indeed the last time before she leaves. As both of us didn’t know when will she be back to the country – after one year or five years? And even when she comes to visit, will both of us remain the same? Our habits might change, our preferences, family members, et al might change as well. It might also happen that we meet only for a couple of hours due to prior commitments. In spite of knowing about the last time, there was nothing I could change. Yes, I was making most of the time available. However, the sadness of that being the last time used to pinch every now and then.
In stark contrast to this, when you don’t know that it is the last time, you are your usual self. You behave like you usually do and have fun. You are not conscious of the present time. That is the real beauty of spending the last time. When I see the painting, ‘The Last Supper’, I am a little hurt. I feel deeply about all those disciples at that dinner, who knew that this would be the last supper with Jesus. They must be all in attention, wary of every minute, listening assiduously to what Jesus has to say. There are ‘last times’ of different kinds – one where you realize it later that that was the last time and the other you know all the time that this could be the last time.
Last night, while scrolling the Instagram, I came across a question, “If you come to know that the book you are reading is the story of your life, would you read the end?” Yes, it is tempting to read the end but after reading the end, no one can remain the same. The end will always be there on the back of the mind and will play an active role in all the decisions one takes in life. Similarly, knowing that it is the last time is like knowing the climax or the end of the book or a story or a movie. The perception and perspective change completely after knowing the end. One cannot behave the usual, no matter how hard one tries.
“You think that you will be but you can never be the same how hard you try, be it after reading a book, after watching a movie, after a conversation with a stranger, after exchanging a glance at the airport, after a Whatsapp chat, after falling in love, after falling out of it or after knowing that it is the last time”. Some incidents change our outlook towards the world and life and knowing that the present is the end is one of them.
So, what can be done to make the most of the last time?
1. Live in the present
Ever did bungee jumping? There is this feeling that you are falling. That feeling of fall is like knowing about the end – the last time. So, when you know that is the last time, try to live in the present, as much as possible. If you take a plunge in the future and do not find the person in your imagination, you will lose the present happy times with him or her. And if you reminisce about the past and think about the happy times or the sad ones, you will, again, lose whatever time that you have with him or her.
2. Involve yourself
A scene from the epic movie Titanic plays in my mind when I think of the last time. While others were trying to save their lives, there was this elderly couple on the giant ship, who wanted to spend as much time together as possible, doing things that they do or always wanted to. That was a very touching scene. When one knows that this is probably the last time with the person before she flies off to another country or another world, one should make the most of it by spending it with other friends and family. One can also spend time alone but without being sad about it.
3. Live the regular life
When my sister was leaving for abroad, I did not know what to do for those last four days. So, instead of making elaborate plans, we let the routine take our lives over. We woke up early in the morning, walked for an hour or so, talked at length, listened to our favourite songs, had the regular homemade breakfast, danced and joked, spent time with the family.
4. Do something the other person likes
When a person is leaving, do something that the other person likes. This is because, the person who leaves, leaves alone. He or she just has the memories to take with him or her. However, other people live their lives as usual and carry on with their routine. When we go out of our ways and do things like eating the food that the person likes and partake in events he would want us to, then it is etched in our mind and hearts as memories, forever.
5. Photographs and videos
What could be better than the photographs and videos clicked during the last time! Click the pictures with funny faces and unusual poses. Sing and dance together. And keep exchanging the pictures for times to come. Going through the old albums together before the person leaves is also an interesting activity.
While it is very difficult to be in the knowledge of the last time, making the most of it is the best thing to resort to in such times. Happy last times to you!