The chance to say hello again is a gift, one not to be taken lightly.
How many of us have had the opportunity to reconnect with family or friends separated by time and circumstances? I’ve been blessed a great deal this past year which started with my high school reunion and the renewal of many friendships along with several new ones. Then, something I dreamed would never take place finally did when the son I put up for adoption reached out to find me after forty-seven years, the best gift of all!
There was one more special reunion with someone who had always rested in a soft spot in my mind, a first love that went back to junior high school. A simple message on Facebook one day opened a door to remembering, laughing and sharing two lives that painfully parted in typical teen-age heartbreak more than fifty years ago. It was nice to talk once again, as old friends.
We both shared our stories of family drama, things everyone experiences, coping with all that is good, bad or indifferent. He spoke about not fully understanding how and why things take a negative turn in life, especially his, but he did so with kindness and a certain acceptance that so much of what we deal with is God’s plan.
He had Cancer. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to be exact. He was in somewhat of a remission when we first started talking, his spirits were great and he spoke often about a favorite movie called “The Bucket List”. He urged me to watch it and I asked if he had a list of his own, which he most certainly did. The list was made up of just two things, buying himself a new Mercedes and taking a trip with a close friend to Mackinac Island. It seems that his buddy was fixated on a movie called “Somewhere in Time” and wanted to visit the Michigan hotel where the film was made. I smiled to myself, visualizing the two of them heading out on this road trip but encouraged him to grab that proverbial bucket and go!
As too often happens where Cancer is concerned, things started deteriorating. Our conversations became fewer as he again started Chemotherapy; it weakened him considerably and his positive spirit desperately struggled with the side-effects of the treatments. A few weeks ago, I texted him to see how he was doing. He replied “At hospital, talk later” I never heard from him again, he passed away on September 1st.
Now, I keep thinking about the whole bucket list deal, about how we all need to have wishes and dreams, just as he did. What’s important is to act on many of these things while we can. Just do it! Enjoy whatever life has to offer while there is still time. Renew friendships, apologize where needed, make peace and move beyond past transgressions, walk in the rain, savor every sunrise, every sunset and catch snowflakes on your tongue.
Live….like you were dying.