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I listened to a woman who checked herself out of hospice as she talked about living and extending her life. She said she wasn't ready yet, that she still has more to do, but she is realistic about her illness. While there is no cure for her now, she knows that science progresses everyday - new treatments are discovered and there is always hope. While studying Thanatology, I was taught that hope changes when you enter end of life care. Hope is not necessarily about finding the right drug to make the illness go away completely. Hope transforms to something much bigger and more powerful - I hope I can enjoy living for a while longer, I hope that I am forgiven by people I have wronged, I hope my children are proud of how I have lived my life, I hope that my end is peaceful. This incredible woman expressed that what she seeks is extension - continued life for just a while longer - to live, and not just to be alive, but to really live. We are trapped by our monotony in life sometimes and forget to live beyond just being alive on autopilot and getting through each day passively. When this woman spoke and while I listened, I was really living - I was using my senses and craving contact with my loved ones. She gave me a gift, as many people I am so blessed to work with do every day, to remind me to be truly alive in my life and to give love and hope to those around me. Please take this gift, this reminder, and live mindfully - find joy and peace, do things that make you happy, and be present with those you love.

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