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Live Like You Were Dying-Nope

Updated on October 9, 2011

Let me explain

Kris Allen.
Kris Allen.

She broke it down specifically

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. I'm guessing Kris Allen hasn't heard of her.
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. I'm guessing Kris Allen hasn't heard of her. | Source

A rant on the use of vague reference

I think there are few things are terrific as the English language. I also realize we are losing the English language as the world changes. Changes in culture, technology, and education heavily impact the language.

It seems that there is a slew of people out there who are less concerned with furthering there grasp on the language and more interested in abbreviating it, and in turn, lessening it significantly. These people are easily identifiable. They say “you know what I mean” quite frequently.

To that end, I recently overheard a wonderful exchange between a young couple who were deeply moved by overhearing the song “Live like You Were Dying” as it was playing on the restaurant sound system where we all we dining. They were at a nearby table.

The song was from young man by the name of Kris Allen. I know there is a similar but different song by country singer Tim McGraw.

Anyhow, the exchange between the two young folk revolved about how precious time is in life and how one must live life to the fullest and tell people how important they are to you, like, you know what I mean, yeah and like blah, blah, blah, blah ad infinitum.

It nearly put me off my food.

What these two people were responding to was something of a misplaced metaphor. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a misplaced metaphor is:

"A figure of speech in which a name or descriptive word or phrase is transferred to an object or action different from, but analogous to, that to which it is literally applicable: an instance of this, a metaphorical expression."

No one, and I mean no one, wants to “live like they were dying.” Such living is an actual state of being, albeit a temporary one.

Thanks to the wonderful words of hospice and palliative care expert, Angela Morrow, RN, this is what a person living like they are dying actually goes through:

“As one begins to accept their mortality and realizes that death is approaching, they may begin to withdraw from their surroundings. They are beginning the process of separating from the world and those in it. They may decline visits from friends, neighbors, and even family members. When they do accept visitors, they may be difficult to interact with and care for. They are beginning to contemplate their life and revisit old memories. They may be evaluating how they lived their life and sorting through any regrets.”

What Ms. Morrow describes is the early phases of what who is living like they were dying experiences.

Don’t make me get all Elizabeth Kubler-Ross on your butts. (Dr. Kubler-Ross was pioneer psychiatrist in the study of near death studies. She knew exactly what it was like for people to live like they were dying and her explanation of the five stage of dying is something every one should read.)

Back to me at the restaurant, the young couple’s discussion quickly dissolved as they turned their attention to more pressing matters-text messaging on their cell phones.

Cell phones greatly amuse me. They are to this decade what cigarettes were to the fifties and sixties. But, I digress.

I think Mr. Allen's song was stressed that life is short and time should be spent improving relationships, not bringing them down. I get that, and still don’t see how dying was connected to it, because the reference to it is quite specific, yet quite vague.

That bothers me because I believe the people in the world who are living like they were dying, (i.e. at the end of their respective existences), such a phase of life is quite significant.

Mr. Allen is quite young and, I hope, has probably not had the experience of knowing any one in hospice care. If he did, he might have pushed for a different lyric.

Rant over.

In the interest of fairness, I think the music behind Mr. Allen’s song is quite upbeat and energetic. A snappy tune, overall but I can’t dance to it.

Remember, If you are going to refer to something, regardless of the format, have at least a basic understanding what it is you are referring.

What has me in a snit


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    • cwhyel profile image

      Craig Whyel 6 years ago from Charleroi, Pennsylvania

      Thank you. Most appreciated.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Brilliant. I actually heard the Tim McGraw version this morning. (Actually, the songs are quite different--they just use the similar phrase.) Yes, sappy, but I am generally touched by it, but I had never thought about what that phrase really means. I love your hub and the way you made me think! Plus, your humor is outstanding. Voted up and awesome and interesting! I've read two of your hubs and am very impressed and plan to follow you and read more. (I sure said "and" a lot in that sentence!)