Three weeks. Three days. Six hours. The progression of time we had left with Jonah is a double edged sword. Some days I’m grateful that we learned hard lessons earlier that we applied – we knew to be present; nothing was taken for granted. The rest though… it haunts me. It’s natural to second guess decisions or run through each scenario again, figuring out if I’d do the same things again (and yes, I would. Every. Time.) It grips me, taking hold like a dense fog; unwavering and heavy. I want that time back.
Usually I come back to a place where I derive a lesson from whatever part of our journey I’m holding at that moment, but today is different. On this day I’m wondering what I would do if given a similar prognosis. If I knew I would only have three weeks left. Then three days, out of nowhere. A few short hours with family at the end. What would I want my legacy to be? Would I even care at that point?
Maybe I’d want to go to some of my favorite places or eat my favorite pizza. Maybe I’d finally schedule that sky dive so I could see the world the way my boys can. Go on a cruise or to Europe or see places here in the US that I’ve always wanted to. Three weeks is a lot of time… unless it’s all you have left.
If I’m being honest with myself, the only thing I would really care about is spending time with my family. I would call people I wouldn’t get to see to tell them I love them. Maybe I wouldn’t want to leave the house so I could also spend more time with my fur babies and be closer to Jonah. The only thing I can say at this moment, with unwavering confidence, is that I would love with everything I have left for those last few days. I would hold my wife and make jokes she’d need to hear, maybe do the kind of jig she always laughs at so I could see her smile despite the pain. I’d want to spend time with my brothers and sisters. My parents. My nephew.
The only thing I care to do in the time I have left is love all of my people, and that’s exactly the type of love I know my Jonah felt too. I gave my family everything I had every day to see us come together, and I’m still fighting that fight today because it’s all that truly matters in this world. That’s what I would intend my legacy to be if I live my life well. That I loved hard. That all of the people who have impacted my life know they are appreciated. That everyone knows that just one person can make a difference.
Step back with me for a second and think about this. Honestly, in all of its ugly, terrifying glory. You have three weeks left in this place. In an instant, that is cut down to three days. Not enough time to travel and see all the things on your list, and certainly not enough time to do the things you’ve been putting off. And then it comes – you can feel those last few hours.
What are you thinking about in those last few moments? Who is with you? Because if you’re looking around and they aren’t in your life enough now you need to make a change. It doesn’t matter what created the divide – if it matters on your last day it matters more than anything on this one. No amount of politics or stress or worrying or money or anything else will ever have the impact on your life as the people around you, and you on theirs. Take a breath, humble yourself, and make the change to put your priorities in order.
You never know which breath will be your last… or theirs.