Mark Twain once said, "the fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time" and this rings so true in the documentary "My Last Days" a project by the actor and director Justin Baldoni. For those that may not recognize his name may know the character he plays, Rafael on the CW Network hit, "Jane the Virgin." It's usually a no-no to use "I" in a review or commentary but to be honest this documentary humanizes death in a positive and profound way, so I'm breaking the rules and humanizing this piece with "I."
I found the stories of Claire and Darth (S0201), Kat and Isabel (S0202) and Kendrick and Jess (S0203) powerful vignettes into personal strength and the permanence and power of the human spirit and soul. This documentary packs a powerful punch and leaves you more than you were before you watched it and that says a lot. I will never know these people personally but their positive message and their light is apart of me now and always as I'm sure this documentary resonated with many others.
There is this moment of sadness when you're suddenly struck with the reminder that you've forgotten while watching that these people are living with terminal illness and the immutable fact their light will one day slip away. Death is something that comes for us all and some people spend their entire life running from it, but this documentary in some way humanizes death into this opportunity for all of us to accept its inevitability but find in that inevitability the light beyond and to realize that life is short, too short to not find your passion and live it.
I'm not one to embrace a sort of kumbaya outlook on life but this documentary does something to you, ignites something inside or at minimum fans this small ember to burn brighter, an ember you either thought you didn't possess or had forgotten was there.
When the three day documentary series ended I wasn't aware this was season 2 until Justin Baldoni came on for one final message as the show ended and he spoke of season 1 and those now gone, but even the short clips of season 1 showed glimpses of them full of life and reminded me that their light remains. Justin's message is a poignant one and this project, "My Last Days" was a powerful message to all of us that each day is a gift even when we aren't convinced it is. I will never meet these people but I feel privileged that they shared their story, their light. In episode 2 Isabel was asked to describe how she felt in three words before she went up in a hot air balloon and now I will end this commentary with how "My Last Days" made me feel: Hopeful. Privileged and yes wonderful Isabel, to use your word, Alive.
The full length episodes can be viewed at the CW website: "My Last Days."