When time is of the essence

Today I am feeling very subdued. Very calm and quiet. I am curled up in a darker corner of the house in a big chair with the drapes pulled and my coffee at arms length. On my mind, two families of two individuals, who probably never crossed paths, and yet, both, affected by cancer.

On my ‘Don’t Miss This’ page at right, is a link to a Caring Bridge page for Stephanie Vasofsky. She is a woman – my age, I think – battling cancer. Battling. She and her husband have a beautiful little 2 year old daughter and she (the mother) has been undergoing chemo and radiation. I check her blog nearly everyday, and last night, I just couldn’t help but hold my breath as I read it.

The news we got today is that the cancer is spreading. The chemo that they will give her will be more to buy her some time than to heal her.

And if I take away the ‘why questions’ that I have, I’m left with this: If we knew we had a limited number of days on earth – would they be higher quality days? Would we (I mean, “I”) talk nicer to our kids and spouse? Would I splash my kids as they played in the bathtub to hear them laugh and see their suprise rather than point out the water on the floor? Could I sit and listen to their extended rambling stories without my to do list, email messages, or schedule entering my mind? Would I make every moment count? Would I shut the laptop more often to read to my kids and would I be more deliberate to tell them stories about Jesus?

I don’t know what I would do.

I remember the last time I saw my father, Ben. He was leaving my mom’s condo where she & I lived. It was a Tuesday night. I only remember that because he had visitation with me on Tuesday nights for many years. He walked down the stairs toward his van and I called after him “Dad! Wait!” for another hug. I’m not sure what compelled me to pursue him again. I went back up to the landing where I could see the road. I waited until his van was out of sight and out of earshot until he was gone. I thought, probably about whatever it is that 11 year old girls think about in anticipating the next time they see their daddy’s. But something inside of me was very still. And I took in the moment and went inside.

And four days later, my dad, without warning had a heart attack and was gone. The next time I saw him after he drove away that Tuesday night he was dressed in his suit and my choice of tie, lying in a bed of tufted satin in a grey coffin. Yesterday would have been his 70th birthday, but he is forever 53 in my mind.

We never had that chance to go for quality time for what was inevitable.

And yet, we did. We do. Every-day is our chance. Every pair of eyes you meet, is a moment worth investment.

I want to tell you about the 2nd family I mentioned above, but will do so in my next post. My daughter just now discovered that her mommy is in fact ticklish. You should see the look on her face. You’d think she won the lottery with her discovery. I’ve gotta embrace it. I’m hitting publish and shutting the laptop. They grow up way too fast and I’ve said “Wait a minute” and “Not now” enough already.

~ by hthr on October 19, 2007.

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