Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What if?

What if you were sure you weren't going to see your kid walk across the stage at graduation?
What if you knew that this would be the last snow you see?
What if you were feeling your wife's or husband lips brush against your cheek for the last time?

I have the honor of taking care of two folks that are in the last days..and they have amazing families and want for nothing...except time.

What a concept to think about.  What if we wanted for nothing except time?  Not a new car, a bigger house or some fancy jewelry...not to be thinner, prettier or smarter.  Just time...time to spend with the person you married, time to stare at your kids, and decide who they take after, time to watch the mannerisms that match yours and the ones that match your mates...time to really listen to the ones you love and imprint it in your brain.

Life really comes down to time, doesn't it?  It comes down to how we spend our time, how we spent our time and what else we want to do with our time. 

It seems to me, when someone is dying, families gather together and are with the person.  I often come to a house to see them and the patient is in bed and so is the spouse, the kids and the pets.  I always think about how they are trying to get every precious second out of the time that is left.  I also see the comfort of the person, the proud feelings when they have the family around.  I bet they are trying to get every second they can with them too.

There isn't much time here on earth for my patients.  They have bodies that are not cooperating and they are exhausted...almost ready to leave.  They are running out of time quickly and the families can feel it.  They gather and talk about the old days, the meetings, the marriages, the births, the vacations and what having this life together means to them.  They are cherishing the time and making sure there is nothing left unsaid.

For you and me, although it isn't guaranteed...we have time.  We have time to say the things that stop the argument, to offer the apology and to stop the behavior that causes pain.  We have time to do things that make us laugh so hard our bellies ache and then time to imprint that memory for all eternity.  We have time. 

And yes, I am one of the people who complained about having no time for me and being mad because I didn't get things done, blah, blah, blah.  I am humbled.  I watch with patience as the family wants to care for their loved one...when I could have them cared for  in 5 minutes.  That is not the point now, is it?  The point is, that with this little bit of time left, they want to be doing the care, with love...to wash the face, apply chapstick on dry lips or lift the cup of cold water for the dry throat...to perform tender acts of love for the person leaving.  That's when the lump that lingers in my throat gets too big to breath...

So tonight, as I watch the snow come down in May, I count my blessings...I have time to make memories, cherish moments and do what makes me feel like I have a purpose.  So when I ask what if...it is to keep me humbled, to make me close my mouth at times before I say things I shouldn't and mostly to be aware that bad things can happen to anyone at anytime and am I using my time wisely?  I sure hope so...

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,


Ms. Moon said...

You are in the position of having a most unique and powerful perspective about life. And you share it and I am grateful for these reminders. I try, every day, to live as you describe- as lovingly as possible. I'm old enough and have lost enough loved ones to know why that's so important. But it is good to read your words, to be reminded again.
Thank-you, Terry. Always.

ain't for city gals said...

This post spoke to me beyond words. We had seven months after my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer...before that I had 60 years. I swear I hoped I used them well!!..I think I did...I loved my dad with all my heart always and he knew it to the very last minute but omgoodness I wanted just another minute...another second..and I still do! It has changed my life forever...I want nothing but time to spend with the ones I love.

janzi said...

Your post was excellent in reminding us of the precious gift of time and how to use it best.I might not have much money, but I always tried to make time for my kids no matter how old they were or how long they'd been living away from home. Time is so valuable you could not put a cost on it, and yet sometimes we forget just how precious it all is.. We have an alloted time here on earth, and some poor loves leave sooner than they should... to have someone like you to sooth and clear the way for them to enjoy the last moments together with their loved ones must be very very special. I am not sure how I would cope doing this kind of kindness and love, day after day, and I truly think that you are a very special person and other that do as you do, because taking the final steps out of this life is frightening enough, but to have someone calm and kind in your corner must ease their souls of worry.. God Bless you and the others that do the same kind work as you do.. hugs from across the pond for one hell of a marvellous lady... take a bow old girl, you deserve it.. janzi