Make your last times precious. 

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

My son, Jon, and I were having a conversation this morning that started me thinking. Then, I read Debe Maxwell's blog, "Happy Valentine's Day - You Left this World but, not Our Hearts," and that added to the conversation this morning. Jon and I were reminiscing about his childhood. His mother and I were going on and on about the funny things that happened when he was little. Fortunately, he grew up during the home video age, so, many of those memories are preserved. But, one thing came out of that conversation, and this also is complimented by Debe's blog, is that everything in your life will have a "last time."

My eight year old granddaughter did so many funny things as a baby and toddler. We have lots of photos and lots of​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ videos, but everything she did eventually had a last time. Now, she pronounces her words correctly. She doesn't call me Mite instead of Mike anymore. She doesn't say, "willn't" instead of will not. She now knows that unicorns aren't grazing at the local farm, the Paw Patrol characters are cartoons and not real characters, and grandpa doesn't know everything. There have been a lot of last times with her, but each one opened the door to a new beginning.

When my mother went into assisted living in 2016 it was the last time she would walk through the door of her home. She thrived in the facility for about a year or so, and then dementia started to drain her of the person she had been my whole life. One day in June of 2019, she called and left a bizarre message on my voicemail. It irritated me and I went to the facility to set her straight (on occasion, patience hasn't been my strong trait). When I walked into her room, she was sitting in her wheelchair staring off in space. I said something and she turned around and smiled and realized she had a visitor. I realized right then that she had no idea she had just called me and left a strange message. I ended up sitting on her bed while teaching her how to better use her cell phone. At the end of the visit, I kissed her on the head and said, "I love you." She responded in kind, and I left. That was the last time. The next time I saw her, she was in a hospital bed two days later unconscious and a week later, I held her hand while she slipped away and graduated into eternity. That was the last time we touched each other. A few days later, I spoke at her funeral while the funeral staff closed her casket. That was the last time I saw her face.

The same scene repeated itself a year later with my father-in-law. He was an incredible man. He taught me about life, woodworking, farming, and so many more things. He was a dear friend and a great influence in my life. In October 2019 he was at the end of his course. He had had a heart attack and a stroke close together and was no longer able to do much at all. Being a lifelong farmer, not being able to do anything was the kiss of death. He lingered with us for about eight months, but one Monday afternoon, it seemed obvious that he was slipping away. When I was leaving him on that day, I kissed him on the head and said, "I love you, and I will see you again." He was gone before morning. That Monday was the last time I saw him alive. Again, a few days later, I spoke at his funeral and I said goodbye for the last time. 

Life is full of "last times." That's not necessarily a bad thing. It might be easy to see negatives in the stories I shared, but what about that last day of high school? It may have seemed like a last time event, but it was the first step into a new phase of life. What about that last time a parent changes a diaper? As a parent, I can honestly say I didn't miss that phase, but the last diaper was the beginning of a new phase that led to another last time. When the boys walked out the door to take up residence in their own homes, it was the last time for my wife and me, but it was a first time for them and a new beginning for us. 

Remember as you travel through life that you will be confronted with an innumerable body of last times. Some will come with pain and others will come with joy and celebration. And, regardless of which they are, they will come. Make every parting a kiss on the head and I love you special. Sometimes, you may arrive with full intention to straighten someone out, but it may be the last time you see them. Decide that you will treat every life event like a last time. You may find that not as many things bother you if you think it may be the last time. Some events will be more important and more exciting if you think it might be the last time. No matter what it is, it might be the last class, the last shift, the last flight, the last sale, the last laugh with a friend, the last dinner with a visiting relative you will never see again are all precious moments. Some are the last time, but some are the last time before a new beginning. Make your last times precious, and if I ever kiss you on the head and say I love you, call 911. 8-)

Comments (22)

Zachary Boutin, CPA
First Response Resolution, LLC - Eagle Point, OR
Oregon's Tax Problem Solver

There are so many last times in each of our lives, some of which I will never forget. Thank you for the post, these are good words to remember to keep things in perspective.

Feb 17, 2023 11:36 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Mike - moments continue to matter.  All of them.  

Feb 18, 2023 04:19 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

This is a great way to give the most..  By knowing it could be the last, make the moment - whatever it is - count.

Feb 18, 2023 04:52 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Mike,

I read your post all the way through. It was emotional but your message was powerful. Life is full of last moments and you are right "make your last times precious."

Feb 18, 2023 05:17 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

What a beautiful post and important reminder to cherish every moment of this life.

Feb 18, 2023 07:58 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

Wow - reading this triggered many similar last-time memories for me and tears too. It is so true, we just never know what tomorrow will bring.  Every moment is truly precious. 

Feb 18, 2023 07:58 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Tough read this morning Mike.  Heartfelt.  Unfortunately we too often take for granted special moment thinking there will be many more similar.  You were very fortunate in being able to say good bye.  Take care.  mdm

Feb 18, 2023 09:30 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Enjoyed your blog page, and I added you as a friend. I would love the follow back. Such a heart tugging blog. Bill

Feb 18, 2023 10:45 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Why you wanna make me cry, Mike? This beautifully written post brings so many memories flooding back in such a good way. Thank you for that!

Feb 18, 2023 11:11 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

What a beautiful post Mike.  It was hard to get through and very emotional bringing me back to many of my own last times, but it was so well done.   It makes us think just how short and fragile life  really is.  Thank you.

Feb 18, 2023 12:14 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Mike, My parents are that age that I know that every visit could be the last, and thus our decision to get closer to them in distance (slow, but getting there). 

I'm also of the age that I realize every blog post could be my last, and one more reason I'm choosy about my topics.   

I know that soon it will be time to get off the double job real estate/engineer carousel and have more time to enjoy things.

We've been blessed by God to have what we have and I don't lose sight of that.  

Feb 18, 2023 12:27 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
602-380-4886

Mike what a thoughtful, beautiful post. I've had many 'last times' over the years and your post brought back some memories of those moments.  Some sad, some a relief in a way. We've had 2 'last times' this past year or so with 2 friends and both died quite young.... somehow we all came together and helped each other through the good byes and the new beginning. I am grateful their partners are now finding their lives again and they are happy - once again. Make every moment count!

Feb 18, 2023 12:52 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten

Oh  gosh Mike that is way over the top loosing 13 family and friends in one year. I often have thought that happens in major disasters like earthquakes, floods.  It would shock me to the core as well. It's not easy speaking at funerals but it's necessary to show our love and respect and to share it with others.

Feb 18, 2023 03:57 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Anna, I lost 13 family and friends in a year. That really shocked me to the core. I felt like I spent more time in the funeral home than my office. I spoke at many of the funerals and it was challenging.  It made a huge difference in the way I interacted with people. 

Feb 18, 2023 01:24 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

A well deserved feature and yes one never knows when the last time will be the last time.

Feb 18, 2023 05:18 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Hello my friend Mike - Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your comments about "last times" reminds me of a lesson I received thirty years ago - "MAKE MEMORIES". Each time we interact with others, we have the opportunity to do that - make memories.

One memory I love is our granddaughter saying "varniler" instead of vanilla are long gone. One day, many many years ago, was last time I heard that! And I remember it fondly... Take care - Lynn

Feb 18, 2023 06:18 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Mike- beautifully said. As I get older, I have taken what you've said to heart. When I find myself wanting to not do something with a friend or loved one, I realize that there will be a day when I regret it because that opportunity will no longer be available. I remember when I was in college and decided to go to Sunday dinner rather than go out to lunch with friends. It was the last time I saw my uncle who passed away later that week. 

 

Feb 18, 2023 06:28 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV - I have experienced death and dying my entire life. I understand what you're saying and agree. I could say much more based on life experiences but I don't want to take away from what you have written. You did a great job.

Feb 18, 2023 07:37 PM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

I find as we get older "You may find that not as many things bother you if you think it may be the last time."  It would be nice if this could be instilled in us at a younger age. This a great message to absorb as we age.

Feb 19, 2023 04:31 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Mike, this post make known the importance of patience with our loved ones when health issues are involved.  I had a similar experience on the very last day of my father-in-law's life.   I'm glad, I kept my patience, otherwise my memory of that day would have haunted me the rest of my life.

Feb 19, 2023 11:23 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Mike, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Feb 19, 2023 11:24 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The RIGHT CHARLOTTE REALTOR!

Oh, Mike, what a wonderful post - a bit poignant, but wonderfully heartfelt and so very true. In recent years, I have recognized the importance of being present - and cherishing every moment. I try every day to be more present and to savor the simple things in life that we often take for granted. 

Thank you for sharing this - and I appreciate the mention - happy to have spawned such a lovely post!

Feb 19, 2023 09:17 PM