Letters from Home

With All the Time That You Have Left – #reverb14 Day 1

Don't Wait for LlifeWhat can you say right now with certainty?

This I can say for certain. “All the time that you have left is in your hand, right now.”

How this plays out is: if you want to talk to your mom, and say you have some idea making a video of her sage advice or just a recording of her singing. Do it now.

October 16 – my mother’s diagnosis
November 20 – mom’s death

My sister called me during about the third of those weeks and begged me, when mom was still cognizant and could speak, to please have her call and leave a message on her voice mail. I had to wake mom up.

“Mom! You awake? You have to call Mary.” She was sleeping more and more. She couldn’t even answer Jeopardy questions anymore. My brain bounced between the dark closet of denial and the hot spotlight of panic: If I wanted to TALK TO MY MOM, I had to do it now. LIKE RIGHT NOW. I’d sit on the floor next to her chair, holding her hand and try to think of things to say.

“Mom, here. Mary’s phone is ringing. Leave her a message. Tell her you love her.”

Mom did it. Mary laughed because the message was something ridiculous like “Hi Mary. Beth said I had to call you but I don’t know why. Anyway, I did what she said. I love you. Bye.”

So, I got her to do it for my sister. And I thought for a second — “I should have her do the same for me” — but then laundry and nurses and visitors distracted me and…


All the time you have left is right now.

Translation: whatever you are doing right now? You have two choices. Either:

  1. be sure you are doing what you love, or
  2. be sure whatever you are doing, however menial, you are doing it with great love.

Because, I can attest, no matter what, you can’t imagine how time changes and twists until before you know it…


This post is part of the December group posting project, #reverb14, hosted by the wonderful Kat McNally. Follow reverb14 on Twitter.


15 thoughts on “With All the Time That You Have Left – #reverb14 Day 1

  1. good words … my mom died six months ago. I am still processing, still grieving over lost moments, still trying to find comfort in what we did have.

    These two things … either doing what I love or doing what I am doing with great love …. yes, thank you for those reminders.

    1. I am sorry for your loss Cynthia. What a brain bomb, huh? Hell, my cat died in our arms (we had to put her to sleep after she accidentally ingested poison) almost two years ago. I still can’t get my head around it. Death is an amazingly simple thing. We are all so busy living and obsessing about our lives and happiness and love. But it’s just a hair’s breadth away at any moment. It’s so easy to ignore. And impossible to forget.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s been almost four years yet it was just yesterday I was sitting next to her bed waiting for her to wake up and trying to think of something meaningful to say. I’d give anything to have a voice mail of her. My heart goes out to you.

    1. I spoke to a woman yesterday who said: “Im glad I was there, but not. It’s awful. How am going to let my own children do that for me?” It’s true. I was there and watched the last breath go out. How can I let me kids watch that same horror?

  3. I’m so sorry. I lost my mom on June 1st. Her voice is still on the answering machine at my Dad’s house. Sometimes I call when I know he’s not home, just to hear her.

  4. Elizabeth. So true. So very true. My heart aches for you and your family. I know this sort of thing lies ahead of me and I dread it. The reminder though, to hold on to live in the now – in the moment is one we can always use. Thank you for that. Hugs.

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