As I was driving away from my visit with my granddaughters recently, I thought to myself, “what if this is the last time I see them”, which seemed incredibly morbid to me and I really tried to force that thought out of my head, but the truth is, I see death on a daily basis and death is a reality. We are all going to die. I am going to die. So, the thought of that being my last time, is very real and something I admittedly ponder.
I have thoughts like these quite often and some days they take me to a place I want to turn around and run away from, but most of the time it reminds me to feel, to go back in time a bit and remember. To remember the gifts and blessings I have had, to think about my lessons and take-aways from each experience, and to just feel the “feels” that sadden and comfort me at the very same time. Mostly though, they are the constant reminder to appreciate everything, even the tiny little once-in-awhile things, the simple things, the special things, the moments, the magic, and all of the wonders of life.
I think of my “last time” moments of the past week; the last time I saw the ocean, the last time I ate a super ripe apricot, the last time I picked fresh grown tomatoes from my garden, the last time I said, “I love you”, and the last time I cried, which was today when I thought about my sister and how much I miss her. I so badly want a do-over of our last time; I didn’t say any of the things I wish I had. I didn’t tell her how much I love and appreciate her, because I didn’t know that was my last time. I hung up the phone, thankful she took time to talk to me, about me, even though she was really sick and going through her own stuff. I hung up thinking that once again she made me feel better. I wish I left her feeling the same.
I miss all the things I can’t do anymore with those who have passed away. It makes me wish I could go back, just one more time, to do it again, one last time… but then I know I would selfishly want another. I also miss the things I can’t do now, simply because of COVID. We tend to take for granted all of the things we get to do because we do not see them as the last time. I think about the last time I hugged someone, which due to COVID has been very few and far between lately. I will confess that I have hugged a few times, once just a few days ago and it felt heavenly. I love the way hugs make me feel.
Death has a way of constantly reminding us how fragile life is and how unpredictable our time of stay will be, so you would think that knowing this we would be a little more appreciative of each moment we have and of those we get to share them with. But unfortunately, and I am guilty of this myself, it takes a death to remind us of what we wish we had said or done, and of time we could have spent better or differently. I am a constant work in progress relative to this. I try really hard to make each moment matter, to remind those I love how important they are to me, and to not waste a second of every day but it is so much easier said than done.
I wear nine bracelets on my left wrist, which I never remove. Each one represents an intention I set for the day, which can be a myriad of different things but tend to stay consistent with; be kind and patient with others, be truthful, embrace each moment and tell your friends and family how much you love them. I set these intentions every morning. At night, before I go to bed, I say nine things I felt gratitude for, which tend to fall under those same categories, finishing with feeling the love from people in my life. I try to do this every day for many reasons, but mostly because I need to know in my heart that the people I love, know how much I love them, every single day. I want the last thing they got from me, to be an “I love you”, and if not the words themselves, at least the constant reminder.
My goal moving forward is to embrace it all, to try to make the very best out of every situation, to take it all in with deep breaths of gratitude and to leave one of the best, “last time” memories with whomever I get to share time with.
If today was all it was ever going to be, did you set intentions and honor them? Did you say, “I love you” before hanging up or walking out the door? Did you apologize if needed? Did you appreciate all of your gifts and blessings? Were you the best “last time” memory for someone else? The only thing we can be absolutely certain of is right this moment, and if we set the intention every single day, to leave someone else feeling loved, appreciated and cared for, you can be certain that their last time with you will leave a cherished memory. You only get one last time…
“I didn’t say, “I love you” to hear it back, I said it to be sure you knew”
Photo credit: This is a painting of mine. Please visit my painting website: www.playingwithpaint.com