Dying With Significance: Part 3


Knowing that we have lived a meaningful life is significant when we face death.  I experienced that when my wife was facing the distinct possibility that she was going to die after her cancer had metalized from her breast to her liver.  In her farewell message to her airline colleagues, she looked back at her life to see if it was meaningful.


Dear Fellow Flight Attendants,

Some of you know me, some of you I have met briefly and some of you I’ve yet to meet, but I’d like to share my thoughts with all of you.

I have been told that my cancer has worsened and that short of a miracle I may not have long to live.  Many thoughts have come and gone since I was told that I have cancer.  Trying to face the possibility of death, I have looked for meaning in my life and have tried to see what my 15 years as a flight attendant mean to me.

I started as most of us did with the idea of working and traveling for a few years and then getting another job.  Why do we stay?  The poet in me tells of being able to work where the ancient gods played and the artist in me remembers the spectacular sunrises and sunsets that I have seen.  I have seen the sun on cloudy days.  I have seen more stars than any earthbound person.  The only people who travel higher than us are the astronauts.  We have seen that this land has no boundaries, no lines to separate.  Countries, states, counties or towns can be seen from 35,000 feet.

We also took this job because we said we liked people.  I have found a family in my coworkers.  I have found people to laugh with, people to care about and people to be with.  There are the gatekeepers in cities distant from my home who have always brightened my day when they opened the airplane door.  I’ll always remember the special crews who made working on holidays fun.

I have looked at the purpose that we serve in this hectic world.  We all need people; we need smiles, kind words and the ability to sense a problem.  In this job we are blessed with being able to give as well as receive.  Our thoughtfulness and caring are our strongest assets.  I have helped when others needed it and now I am on the receiving end and I can attest to how terrific your love and care feels to receive.  You have made Christmas continue through February.  Your cards and calls and financial help have given me strength and laughter when I’ve needed it most.

We live and work in a technological and increasingly sterile world where greed is close to becoming god, but we must remember that most of our passengers are just as afraid of corporate takeovers and layoffs as we are.  We must learn to care for and love our brothers or we could lose the whole human race.  We are in a unique position to use our strengths to help the world change.  We see most of the people who think they run this country every day.  We can humanize them, we can show them how to care for strangers and friends.  We can make this job meaningful every day and we can change the world.

Keep smiling, keep caring, keep loving and enjoy your life every day.  May peace and love find a home in your heart.  I hope that miracles do happen and that I’ll join you back on the line soon.


Judy Ahrens–Beauregard


Judy died a significant death because she lived a meaningful life!


Significant Questions:

  • Would you rather live a life of love knowing that you will die, or would you rather live forever without love?


  • How do you answer the question: “Is my life making a difference?”


  • Do you agree with this quote by Maria “Cory” Aquino: “I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life?”


To receive a Significant Life Questionnaire which provides you with an objective analysis of where your life fits on the Degree of Significance Scale as well as 21 ways you can experience more significance in your life.

Email:   jack@successfulltransitionplanning.com