At the first of the year a dear neighbor found out that she had terminal pancreatic cancer and I just found out this morning that she passed away. I am writing this post in memory of my friend Charlene; my friend, neighbor, and bunko partner (we were usually going for the most losses.) When something like this happens it really makes you realize that we just don't know what tomorrow will bring. It has made me stop and think about how important it is to live our life to the fullest each day that the Lord blesses us with life.
Charlene was such a role model in how she lived her life. I spoke with her the day after she found out she only had a few months to live and when I called her first response to me was asking me how I was doing and of course asked me about my kids (which she always did). At that time she told me that she had made her peace with God and wanted to go out with dignity. She did just that.
At the same time that I found out my friend was dying I have received an email with these words from Irma Brombeck. I have received this before but the words did not impact me as much as when it gets personal. Irma wrote the following words after she found out she was dying from cancer. Her words are bolded and in italics and then I have added my thoughts. She gives us some great advice!!
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - by Erma Bombeck
(Written after she found out she was dying from cancer).
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day. We are so guilty of going to work sick and then spreading our germs around to everyone else.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I have to laugh at this one when we moved here 11 years ago I had a beautiful big snowflake candle that I would not let anyone burn. Somehow it got up in to the attic that first year and when we brought it down at Christmas it was now in the shape of the box it was stored in.
I would have talked less and listened more. A lesson we all need to learn.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded. We went to my sister's house for Christmas this year and had a wonderful time even though their house was not completely finished. My brother-in-law was stressed because we were coming with the house not finished but I'm glad we went. Our son leaves for second tour of Iraq on Monday and I am so glad we were all able to get together for Christmas as his orders are for 15 months so I don't expect we will be able to get together next year.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. I'm over this one but that is something I learned with age.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. Once they are gone there is no bringing them back so this is a biggy.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. Hmmmmmm I guess I need to help mowing that yard.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. My husband's car has a sunroof and I have been guilty of this. I guess I need to go with the flow and let my hair fly.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains. I love sitting on the grass so I guess I'm over this one; at least if the bugs aren't biting.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life. I'm not a big television watcher but sometimes I need to get my head out of a book.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. It is no fun settling for second best because it is practical.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. This one is huge we blink and they are here and all grown up.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, ‘Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more ‘I love you's'; more ‘I'm sorry's.' Sometimes; well a lot of times that English side of our family comes out so this is something I need to work.
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it, live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!! Most of the stuff is that small stuff.
Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what! Okay this one is another one I have learned with age. This is one of the beauties of being middle aged; I'm over that.
Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us. Those relationships are the ones to be cherished.
Let's think about what you have been blessed with, and what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. I hope you have a joyous day. I HAVE BEEN SO BLESSED!!
My friend Charlene lived life to the fullest and had such a warm endearing personality. She had the kind of life that Irma Brombeck talked about. She has a loving husband and two grown daughters, one grandaughter and an elderly Mother who are going to miss her dearly.
When these things happen it just doesn't make sense. The scripture that keeps coming to my mind is Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." I think maybe it just isn't going to make sense this side of heaven but I do know there is another angel in heaven now.