Los Angeles photographer Andrew George recently embarked on a project, titled Right Before I Die, to answer a complicated question on perspective. He explains, "I often question, as I recall personal events that once seemed important but that have faded from my memory, my ability to have perspective. Sometimes, I take this to the extreme, and wonder what I will value in my final moments." George met with a number of people experiencing their end of days to gain insight to this profound thought. Here is what they had to say...
1. The most important things in my life have been some of the discoveries of things from people of whom I never would have expected...And some of my favorite memories in my life were having discovered that I was not all that important.
2. I don't believe in heaven in that way. I believe that heaven is what you are in this life and if you did good, you're happy and if you didn't do good, then you went to hell.
3. I'm at peace and have been for a few years. You just have to decide that no one can hurt you and you can just go from there. You run to the end of the diving board and jump off, into the black void, and hope that you land in water.
4. You can be totally fooled by something, and you can absolutely fool yourself into believing anything.
5. Death?—Eh, just something that happens.
6. I am a content, whole, peaceful man right now...Not scared, not afraid, just excited, all bubbly inside, like I'm going to get married. I'm reaping what I've sowed all those years; I've sowed love.
7. Time is so precious. God, it's precious...
8. When we die, we die and we go to nothing. Dust to dust...I think the end of the world reaches you when you die.
9. I'm not afraid to die—I'm afraid of what I've got to do to get there.
10. I want to live, I have much to do—I want people to get back to being decent to each other.
11. I feel that life is very pretty. I've always liked to work, fight, and well, for me life is very pretty.
12. When you're in pain, very, very bad pain, and you can't stand it, sometimes you say 'I wish, I wish I could die' but then all of a sudden, something enters my brain...why should I wish that? If He wanted me to go, He would have taken me long ago.
13. I call on God but I don't demand he solve my problems; I've had to solve my problems myself.
14. Just do the best you can, I can't imagine any other meaning to life than that. And we have to make ourselves happy, we can't expect that from others.
15. Happiness is when you're with someone who's a friend who you enjoy and can be true to—that's happiness to me.
16. The world is what people make of it—They can make for themselves a good life here, or they can make themselves miserable—and it seems like there's a lot of people who like to make themselves miserable.
For more on Andrew George's project, visit rightbeforeidie.com.