If I had my life to live over I would burn the pink candle!

Real Estate Agent with Results Realty

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!!

(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. 


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Liz Carter
Liz Carter & Team Realty-Your Real Estate Resource For Life! - Katy, TX
Broker/Owner of Liz Carter & Team Realty, Katy TX (Houston)
My Dear "New" Friend Marchel,I'm glad that God has put me in your life.  Thank you for your kind words to me today, and I will stop beating myself up.  Like I tell everyone else (I give great advice :), don't do it since there are enough other people out there willing to do it for you!  OK so I'm up till 4:00 AM again tonight, it's OK, I deserve to be up if I want to.  But I really better go get my pretty butt in bed, I do have to work tomorrow :).  Love Ya, Liz
Mar 10, 2008 08:23 PM #49
Sonya Rosser
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers - Douglasville, GA
Hi Marchel, Thank you very much for sharing your beautiful friend with us.  I am sure you were a great friend to her.  Thanks for the poem as well.  It makes us think about what is most important to us.
Mar 11, 2008 06:08 AM #50
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

LIZ,I hope you get more sleep tonight.  I become a pumpkin about midnight myself.

SONYA,  She was a beautiful friend.  Her funeral was today and I'm exhausted from all my crying but it was a beautiful celebration of her life. 

Mar 11, 2008 02:27 PM #51
Carol Judd
New Star Real Estate - Vernal, UT
Vernal Utah Real Estate
A great title and wonderful information.  We all worry too much and need to enjoy each day.  I did that this week and I actually spent a while in Old Town Spring as part of my escape. Thanks,
Mar 11, 2008 04:06 PM #52
Marylee Ayers
Northwood Realty Equine Division AND Hunt Real Estate ERA NY - Butler, PA
I too have experienced the loss of a friend and have learned this very lesson.  The good crystal is now used every day (carefully) but used.  The guest towels are for the ones living in our home. The grandchildren nick up the tables in the family room.  They were bought with the kids in mind.  We feel they are leaving their character marks on them.  When they go home and we look at the table with the crayon marks and the scratches from their trucks, we know we are blessed.  Live and love for today with all your heart and all your soul.  Tell those you love that you love them.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow.
Mar 11, 2008 05:27 PM #53
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Carol, Isn't Old Town Spring fun!  I hope you had good weather while you were here and not the rain we had a few days ago.  It is beautiful now.

Marylee,I don't have grandchildren yet but my children give me grief at how lenient I am with our kitties (lol).  I'm glad you are enjoying your grandchildren.  Sometimes we just need to burn that pink candle; don't we?

Mar 12, 2008 06:03 AM #54
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT


I'm very sorry to learn about the loss of your friend.  It was good to re-read Irma's letter.  I get way too caught up in the little things in life and fail to look at the big picture.   I had a close call a few years ago and when I thought I might not make it, I suddenly realized that the things I thought were important in life weren't and things I hadn't were.  This lead to my decision to leave my corporate career and go into real estate so I could achieve more of a balance in life (hmmm, lost sight of that along the way, too many tasks and to do's are now distracting me from the big picture). 

After looking at the video I went to Randy's website to see how he was doing and amazingly, he is still alive and doing pretty good besides some nasty side effects from chemo.  We all need to step back and think about how we are living out lives.  If we were to be told tomorrow that we had three months to live, what would we do differently, and what implications does that have for the changes we should make in our lives now?

My thoughts are with you.

Mar 13, 2008 04:13 PM #55
Sandra Workman
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Kankakee, IL
I'm sorry to hear about your loss.  Thanks for putting Erma's words in, I love her works and it's a reminder to stop and smell the roses.
Mar 13, 2008 11:40 PM #56
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON


This is the most beautiful post I've read in ages and brought a small tear to my eye this morning. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend....it's wonderful that she had friends like you who will keep her memory alive.

Thank you for your rendition of Erma's notes......very, very true and very moving.


Mar 14, 2008 12:09 AM #57
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Gail,  This week has really brought me back to the important things in life.  I was truly blessed to have her as my neighbor.  Her husband buried her in east Texas on Wed. on what would have been their 41st wedding anniversary.  He is just as nice as she is.  I was crying at her viewing and it was him comforting me.   Her two grown daughters are just as nice.  What a blessing they had to be raised by parents like John & Charlene.  I pray that I can be that same blessing to my children.  

SANDRA, It is a reminder to stop and smell the roses.  We have spring flowers peeking out and I have to say those blossoms are being such a comfort to me.  I plan to walk and take some pictures of them today.  At the moment it is cloudy but the weather says sunny this afternoon.  Sun and blossoms you can't get much better than that.

Mar 14, 2008 03:25 AM #58
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)
Marchel - I have included this post in the weekly recap for Family Ties.  I hope you have a terrific weekend!
Mar 15, 2008 02:46 AM #59
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord...  Thank you for your inspiring, encouraging post, written with love.  God bless you.

Mike in Tucson

Mar 15, 2008 01:58 PM #60
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

JO-ANNE, Thanks!  As you can tell it was from my heart.  I will so miss my friend and nieghbor. This week has been hard for me; I can't imagine what her family must be going through. 

JASON, Thanks for including my post in the weekly recap.

MIKE, that scripture has kept me going.  That and the one as far as the east is from the west. 

Mar 15, 2008 03:37 PM #61
Cheri Smith
Prudential Gary Greene, Cypress TX - Cypress, TX
Realtor Prudential Gary Greene

I'm sorry about your friend.

I am a free spirit in so many ways and people think it's odd that I am that way. I don't care if my hair is perfect. I don't care if it's too early to wear white shoes. I don't care what is in style. I am happy in flip flops! Hey these are my good flip flops I'm wearing to floor duty today!!! I want to be comfortable. I want to be happy. I want to enjoy every minute and not look back with regrets because I was afraid of what people would think. Call me bohemian, call me a hippy child, call me a non-conformist but don't call me a waste.

Mar 16, 2008 08:58 AM #62
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

CHERI, Bunco was at my house this last Monday.  That was the first time since Charlene's passing.  It does feel like there is a hole in our group but we have loving memories of her. 

It sounds in a lot of ways like we would be kindred spirits. I have always been very independent and have not really looked at what everyone else was doing but go my own way.  I guess that is part of why I have my own brokerage now.  I never really felt I fit into an office.  I LOVE not having to work floor duty any longer!!!  I'm a sandal person all summer long but I do have tennis shoes in my car for the country properties.  I'm glad we live in an area of the country where it is acceptable to be casual because that really works for me.

Mar 19, 2008 07:10 AM #63
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX
Marchel, this is wonderful and true. Thank you for making me stop and really think. I get caught up in work and this computer. If I were on my death bed would I wish I had spent more time working? No. More time on AR? Maybe. I am getting to know so many wonderful people. I enjoyed speaking to you today and will be seeing you soon! Later in the rain~Deb..I enjoyed your laugh. :-)
Mar 22, 2008 12:18 PM #64
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Debra, we just don't know what is going to happen tomorrow; do we?  Who would have thought that my neighbor Charlene wouldn't be here for this Easter.  She was so vibrant; until the very end.  I went over to see her just a week or so before she died and we set at the kitchen table and she told me she was doing okay.  She wanted to go out with dignity and she did just that.  We need to live each day for all it is worth.

I enjoyed talking to you today also.  We are looking forward to our Active Rain get together.  It will be fun trying to pick each other out by just this one little picture that we put on-line.


Mar 22, 2008 01:25 PM #65

I Don`t now speak inglish, but will learn to understand you.

I understand very letter, but I want you are very well

May 06, 2008 03:10 PM #66
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Hey, Marchel. I wanted to share that I featured your blog in one of my blogs. Here is the link; http://activerain.com/blogsview/850098/Top-10-New-Years-Resolutions

All my best, Jim

Dec 24, 2008 03:07 AM #67
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

JIM and MARIA,  I'm not sure how you found this post but thanks for featuring it.  It has been hard on our neighborhood not having our angel Charlene here for this Christmas.  We don't know what tomorrow brings so we need to burn that pink candle and enjoy every day to the fullest.

Dec 24, 2008 08:50 AM #68
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