Two weeks ago, she went to the doctor. A fit, healthy, active woman who just turned 52 years old in February. Twelve days later, she was gone.
Twelve little days.
It seemed like a bad infection and that recovery would be slow. By the time they all realized that there would be no recovery, it was too late.
She will never see her daughter marry, and she won't be at her son's graduation in May. She didn't get the time to train other people to do all of her job. She won't get to retire with her husband, or see what kind of foal her precious cremello stallion might sire. She won't even be able to go get a massage.
She didn't get time.
What were the other things that she never got the chance to do? She didn't get the time to tell us.
What are the things that you would be doing right now, if you somehow knew in advance that 12 days from now would be your last? What would I be doing? (Probably not this, I admit.)
We can't live each day as if it were our last, of course. That is a Utopian idea of a life well-lived. But we can take a realistic approach to a life well-lived. We can incorporate some daily habits that will help us to feel less unfinished, if those twelve days were ours.
Say, "I love you".
Try to always let your parting words with each person be words that you would not regret, should they happen to be the last words you ever get a chance to say.
Eat the effing cookie. (OK...you know me. Eat the chips!)
Take a moment to notice the sunset, the laughter, the tail wag, the smell of the basil, the presence of joy.
Speak kindly to yourself and others.
Laugh. Laugh a lot. Laugh often.
If you are healthy, please, PLEASE, P.L.E.A.S.E! take notice of that fact and know that it can be gone in moment.
Paint that picture. Write that book. Take that trip. Enroll in that class. Contact that old friend. Whatever thing you have always meant to do, but haven't gotten around to? If you can't reasonably accomplish the thing right now, at least take measurable steps toward it, and then keep on stepping.
I have touched on this before in this space, but it bears repeating. And it is a worthy reminder to me, as well as to you. Attend to the business of your life and keep each other informed. You don't want your last words to your spouse be anything about the bank account. Write down your passwords and keep them in a secure place that you both know of. Even though we are no longer living in a "little woman" world, the division of labor in most households seems to leave one person largely in the dark. Please work on putting in some lighting. Today. Not tomorrow. Not as soon as you get around to it. Today.