There are certain axioms in life that most of us know to be true, but we don't realize just HOW true until faced with the exact set of circumstances that bring those truths to light. Having gone through one of those experiences recently, I am going to share with you some advice, exhortations really, that I knew before but REALLY know now. Please heed the words I write, in whatever way they may apply to you.
|She doesn't worry about her |
future, but I do
Be prepared. Have a will and powers of attorney drawn up. In the week after Aimee's death, one of the big questions for me was what arrangements she'd wanted for her body. For the life of me I couldn't remember, even though I knew we'd talked about it. Turns out, I didn't have to remember, because she'd put it in her will, which I got from our safe deposit box. She also spelled out a few other specific wishes she'd had, which meant no wondering or potential fighting over things. What a humongous relief that was to me.
Live your @&^%# life, ok? Rowan and I were looking at pictures today, and saw a picture from the aquatic center where we'd last seen Aimee. We talked about how that was the last time we saw mommy. And it dawned on me, not for the first time since Aimee's death, that the old saying about how life is short and you never know when it's your time are all a LOT more true than we really accept. We know that's true, but we don't ACT like it's true. Now I know that we can't all run off and live like we're going to die tomorrow, because would any of us really go to work or pay our bills? I sure as hell wouldn't. I'd take one last trip to Paris or fly to China to walk on the Great Wall. Or maybe I'd gather my family around and we'd all tell great stories about the 'old days'. Whatever it is, I wouldn't be schlepping to work on the bus if I knew those hours were among my last on earth.
But still, as hard as it is, when you are with or talking to someone you love, keep in the back of your mind that you might never see them again. Because as unfathomable as it seems, it's the honest-to-God truth that what happened to me can happen to anyone. Believe me, when I chatted with Aimee through that fence, and kissed her good-bye through it, I never imagined that was my kiss GOOD-BYE. I had no clue that when I saw her one last time a few minutes later and waved to her as she got ready to leave for the boat that I was waving her off to eternity, no idea that that glace was the last time I'd lay eyes on her in this life. Don't think that could happen to you? In one swift moment of a car accident, or brain aneurysm, or heart attack, or whatever, someone you love could be gone (though I PRAY that it doesn't).
And it's not just loving our loved ones. What about the stuff you've dreamed of doing? What the hell are you waiting for? Until you make more money or have more time or i easier? Stop making excuses! Life is flying by you right now, and every day you waste is another day you're not going to get back. If you get to the end of your life with any regrets, let them be regrets for some of the things you did, not things you wished you'd done. Again, I know you can't blow all your money on stuff and then not be able to pay your bills. But start making goals and saving up for the things you've always wanted to have or do. And many of those may not cost much money at all, like learning to play an instrument or speak a new language.
I know this sounds cliche'. But please don't just read this and agree with me in your mind but then resume putting stuff off. Get insurance, make a will, and value the days you have left on this earth and the people you're sharing them with.
Because you just never know which day, which moment, which kiss through a chain link fence, will be your last.