IF I were a betting person, I’d gamble that 99% of the people reading this has said or thought; “If I’d only known then what I know now……” It’s perspective on our past that has influenced the present in some way. We all look back on our past and maybe wish we would have done better in school, kept that friend, finished a degree, worked harder on something, or maybe even wish we would have stuck with a sport. Something in all of our pasts has made us think “If only I’d….”
I’m asked, or often told, “I don’t know how you do this.” It’s a fact that having a special needs child with a diagnosis like Livia’s, as parents, we think about death. Or for me lately, I’ve thought more about the time that most likely I’ll spend here on earth with out her. This thought paralyzes me with uncertainty. It also makes me think about LIVing. The one and only life we’ve all been given. How should we spend our days? What should (or shouldn’t) we be fighting or arguing over. Or for me, my mission, to love fiercely.
I started a summer book club and was only able to attend one gathering. The book was very good and one part in particular really hit home. It made me think about that “If I’d only known then what I know now.” Most likely those past choices are things we can’t change. We are reminiscing on past decisions that are done.
The man was a corporate big shot.
Actually, he was bigger than a big shot. He was president and CEO of a worldwide conglomerate, and all the big shots worked for him. Year after year he led his business with a focused and determination to succeed at every level and expected that same focus from him employees. And they did succeed. High expectations coupled with a driving spirit produced big results. Financial gain, expansion, innovation. He spent a lifetime striving for the victory he enjoyed. Some would have called him a genius.
This very successful man spent the last two weeks of his life in a hospital outside of New York City. And for those two weeks, the only person who came to see him was his wife, who kept a loving vigil day and night beside his bed. No cards or flowers came. No one else called. No priest or pastor. Nothing.
In his final days, he said to a nurse, “I spent my life building one of the largest businesses in the world with over 25,000 employees. But at the end, the only one who is faithful is the woman I ignored for 50 years.”
Oh, the ache of such a misspent life.
“Do you know who I am?”
This passage sent an AHA moment straight to my core. What if we all gained the perspective of our own death bed? We know that moment will come. I’m not saying we will all be aware of the exact moment of “our time.” But we know our life will expire. I certainly do not want to be in that moment, look back, panic, or think “why didn’t I.” Or feel “Oh, the ache of such a misspent life.”
I caught myself saying to Finley “don’t put off for tomorrow, what can be done today.” I then shook my head and turned back into myself, but really, it’s true. I’m bound and determined to LIV every 24 hours I’m given with purpose. I’m going to love fiercely, even when I’m tired. I’m going to do what needs to be done, but sprinkle a few games of hide and seek in between tasks. I will continue to kiss my girls as often as possible. I will teach them what they need, and take moments for myself. I will continue to grow the bond Jake and I have, but remember to take time to laugh together. I will add meaning to meaningful relationships and strive to be a better friend. My family will know they are priority. All of them.
I will never give up hope that Livia will get to LIV a long life. I pray for that daily. However long or short we have with her, it is my mission to one day, be able to look back and smile. To know that we LIVed a life with no regrets. Life that was filled with moments that really mattered. Our life here on earth is short, for all of us. I pray that you find your happiness and fill your days with joy. Most importantly, love fiercely!