A Death Bed Experience

I traveled to the hospital today… with my wife. While doing so, I was reading, “The Innovators Dilemma.” It’s a book about change and possible ways to be ready for it, using technology as the main example. The interesting dilemma I saw was not so much the examples in the book, but what happened to me as I arrived at the hospital.

You see, my wife’s step mom is now hospitalized, having suffered a brain hemorrhage. She was rushed to the hospital a few days ago after not being able to be revived by paramedics. An emergency surgery later, she now lays in a hospital bed, kept alive by tubes and life support.

I saw her there laying on the bed. Her head was shaved. She had a several inch long incision on the side of her head. “Life really is short,” I thought to myself over and over. I’m 32 years old now. I have dreams of living forever. But today, a stone cold reality chilled me. Some day I may face a similar fate and be dead. It is possible. Not to think so is naive.

I thought about my blog. It’s mostly a collection of my thoughts and life journey – a journal of sorts. I think most of us want to leave this life knowing we made a difference. Seeing someone in a state of near death has a way of making an impression.

I’m not afraid to say that I want to make a massive difference. I really do. And I’m trying with all the energy I can muster. Just reading a book a week alone has been a massive and difficult change for me. Some days I wonder if I should just hang it up and accept that my fate will be ordinary. After all, in eight months, my blog hasn’t really generated much interest.

I think about that last statement. What would make the website of Jeremy Noel Johnson more interesting? Would it be becoming a master salesman? Would it be learning psychological techniques to hook readers into wanting more? Would it be creating massively long sales pages to try and find the right combination to “sell” someone?

I don’t know the answer. I see “successful” people and most of them have popups and lead capture pages and write in a way that captures the attention of people. Is that really what it takes to get more than 30 website visitors a day? Surely the world is ready for something more than that.

If you can’t tell, I was affected today by seeing someone who will most likely be dead soon. Someone that I know and that my wife knows closely. For my own peace of mind, I want to know that I’ve reached many people and that I didn’t have to use online internet “tricks” to do it. That I didn’t have to tweak and do A/B testing to find the right “combination” of words, colors, and images to manipulate psychology.

Maybe this is just wishful thinking. Perhaps mastering salesmanship techniques is what is required. But right now, I resist that. I can’t accept that. I have to keep pushing on the fly wheel. After eight months, there has been little result to see. But I’ve got to keep pushing on the wheel. Because my hope is that the wheel will start moving. Just a little movement someday must surely be possible. I can do all I can, learn all I can, and adapt all I can and leave the rest up to the universe. That is what one man can do.

My conclusion from this reflection is that I will keep doing all I can. I will keep reading. I will keep learning. Surely this effort will pay off. Life is too short to just sit in my damn cubicle at work all day. I’ve got to do even more at my day job. The urgency is surely increasing. At the end of my life, if all I have to show is that I sat in a cubicle all day, then I will surely feel the pain of regret.

So let’s make a difference, you and I. Let’s do something more than what we are at our day job. Let’s set a new standard for our online websites. Your accounting to yourself at the end of your life demands it. Make a difference in your health. Stop eating those frickin’ burgers and fries. Make a difference in your family. Share something amazing with them. We never know when our turn on the death bed will come…

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8 thoughts on “A Death Bed Experience

  1. Hi Jeremy,
    I was incredibly moved by your post. I’m very sorry to hear what you and your wife are presently experiencing. One of the worst things (as if imminent death is not enough) is having to stand by and watch someone you love, linger in such a state.

    You are right. Nothing gets us thinking about our life like coming face to face with death. My brother’s unexpected passing at 41, 5 yrs. ago, was life changing for me on many levels. Although I miss him dearly, his death has also brought with it many gifts of new awareness. My focus shifted with the realization that quite literally, anyone of us could go to sleep one night and just not wake up. (My brother died while sleeping).

    This knowledge has definitely made a difference in my priorities and my ability to live within each moment. I try to squeeze every ounce of beauty and enjoyment from the present that I can..and no doubt it has also greatly affected my goals.

    It was mere weeks after his death when I decided I’d write a book. He had been sending me amazing signs of his continued presence and I knew if I didn’t capture them by writing them down, I’d likely forget!

    So yes, while this is a sad time for your family, it is also a time of great poignancy. In remembering and celebrating a life that was, we can definitely come to new levels of awareness regarding what’s really important regarding our own life. Clearly, you are recognizing this.

    And…please do keep going with your writing & amazing site…you are really awesome at it and have wonderful insights!

    my thoughts are with you and your family at this very difficult time.


  2. Please don’t discount or ever forget how significant you are to me and our two daughters! You’re ALWAYS making a difference! I hope we can help take you to the level of influence you want to achieve.

  3. That’s beautiful.
    I thought of adding this after I wrote my post…It’s very evident through Jeremy’s writings the profound and abiding level of love, commitment and respect he holds for his wife and his children…and clearly this is reciprocated back. No doubt, THAT in itself is an incredible accomplishment of worldly proportions….an accomplishment that many only dream of…and never see realized. From the vantage point of many…you Have absolutely achieved profound success. From that place of contentment and perfection you have a springboard from which all your other successes can emanate.

    its’ really heartwarming and inspiring to see relationships that actually work! Perhaps Jeremy you could write more articles where you share your secrets on this….lord knows, the masses could definitely use advice on that one!

  4. Faye, sounds like you experienced first hand the death of a close one. I’m amazed that my step mom going through this would make me think so much about my life and the importance of treasuring every moment. Your words were very helpful in helping me give a valuable meaning to this situation. I don’t doubt that I will have to go through this with many other people close to me in the future.

    Writing about relationships that work. Now there is an intriguing thought, Faye. I’m happy to share what I think has worked for my wife and I, along with the ways we’ve managed our differences as well. Maybe in that I will find additional value to bring to visitors. Thanks for pointing this out.

    And Heidi (the wife), thanks for your encouraging words. It means a lot to me to have a wife that is behind me 100%. I’ll keep pushing on the fly wheel and getting it turning more and more each day :)

  5. Do not give up, brother. Even if the only person that your website helps is you it’s all worth it, and I know there are other it helps. Keep going strong!

  6. I have to come back here and comment from almost 4 years in the future. This experience of Heidi’s step mom was very pivotal for me. And I deeply care about her and my two little girls. Faye, you mentioned how I should write articles about relationships here, 4 years ago. I realize that with the recent shifts in Heidi and I’s relationship that I don’t feel nearly as qualified to do so. I still very much care about her, but life has certainly changed a bit.

    One thing is for certain, I care for her and my two girls and will work hard to take care of them regardless of the outcome between us, you can bet on that.

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