Stephenson Family Ties The Barn Burnt Down
And Now I See The Moon
Mysteries require judgments and the assessment of
uncertainty, and the hard part is not that we have
too little information but that we have too much.
From: What the Dog Saw

 is for:
Just a few months....

Imagine with me if you will- that darling, bundled up caroler on your front step just a few weeks ago- it being the last caroler you'd ever enjoy hearing sing your favorite Christmas tunes.
Imagine those yummy chocolate orange sticks and candy canes that only appear on the shelves at Christmas time, being the last you'd ever sample.
Imagine being told that you have just a few months to live.

Suddenly now everything becomes “ the last.”
The last New Years.
The last Valentines Day
The last birth of a grandchild.
The last turkey carved and eaten.
The last Presidential Election.
The last winter.
The last spring.
The last new moon.

There I was, sitting in a dear friends living room...hearing his catastrophic diagnosis...and I groped for understanding and wondered  what that would be have such devastating news delivered to my ears and heart .
My mind has been crashing and thrashing with the possibilities...
It seems that cancer is now the new plague.
If those dreaded cells were taking over my internal organs one by one and there was no hope of beating them back...What would I DO? What would I think? What would I regret?
How would I react if I just had a few months?

I suppose its not surprising that my mind first went to the place where Hollywood is famous for going. Great wealth is supplied...and then the possibilities are endless.
And even if that were true...and a bank funded my pre-death experiences...I see that my story would differ from Hollywoods' version. It wouldnt be about extravagant things. (with the possible exception of a NICE car...rental of course, and a ticket for that flight on an F16)
Instead I would wish to somehow disrupt the lives of my family...expecting them  all to take up temporary residence on some tropical shoreline, south of here....WAY SOUTH OF HERE!! South of Cancun would do nicely.
Spending my last days floating on a bright green air mattress bobbing on the waves of the Gulf with my family around me would suit me just fine.
Im a dreamer. I've always been accused of being unrealistic. Wanting something and reality are two different beasts.
Undoubtedly I would NOT be able to disrupt my family's lives...for my drama.
This would be the first “regret” on my list of regrets.
    Regret #1-Real life getting in the way of dreams.
So...If I had just a few months, and I couldnt live it out on a beach...with my family.... my whole family, and money was no object...
(Money is always the object.)
Then what!!!?
First lets make the list with the idea that money is easily come by: ha!!( I know Im wasting time...but its an interesting exercise in dreaming.)

How about a HUGE motor home in which to see this extraordinary country. With all the family squeezed in nice and cozy. Road trips are the best!! We'd do Disney World, eat Maine lobster to our hearts content, Maryland crabcakes, see Mt Rushmore and the Black Forest; enjoy Vancouver ferry rides and gardens, & Seattles chowder, and we'd hunt all over for the best pies and french fries made in the good ol U.S. of A. Maybe I'd even give Fargos' winter a try?
If money werent the issue, I'd hire a chef that would cook us delicious meals and clean up afterwards. We'd get a larger dining room table and everyone would have a place at the board.

(Are you depressed yet...or just very hungry??!
or...and this is more likely...are you disappointed in my worldliness?)

Its been a sobering exercise. But at the same time enlightening.
For me-
Its all about family.
About making memories.

Would I die with regrets...most assuredly.
Some might be-
not seeing Italy again.
not living in NYC for a time.
not telling my dad to be nicer to my mom.
Somehow not being able to convince Joe that I love him as much as any of my kids.
Not doing the long dreamed of bike ride down the coast of California, starting at the Redwood Forest.
I would regret not having time to serve a mission for my church with My Builder...

I wouldnt miss not having jumped out of a plane.
I would bring my son home from his mission early!! Yes I would...may lightening strike me I would!!!
I wouldnt get drunk or stoned.
Though I have a strong suspicion I'd take back the joys of Pepsi.
If I dont find myself on a beach, I'd attempt to be blissfully happy here at home in my peaceful desert.

It just might not be about the places in the world I havent seen... (though that is sometimes hard to imagine it not being about that too.)

All week as I have been pondering zoom lens has focused in...
and I have been a little depressed....
but I have learned some things about me.

 I  thought it would be “fun” to learn from you as well... So I asked the question...”what would you DO if you had just a few months to live?”
The answers that came in were far more cerebral than mine...not surprisingly.
I live in the moment.
Im emotional
and unrealistic, remember.
So here are some of the responses of friends and family:

Sabine from Waterloo, Canada:

WOW!!!! I think. if healthy enough, I would want to see all the people I care about that are all over the world. It`s not about travelling but seeing everybody I can again, until I see them again in heaven. Ths is a spontaneous answser without having really thought it through but those are usually the answers``from the heart` And without joking around St George would be part of my trip.

Lizzy...from Young Womens:

Months?? Well attending the temple and finishing the Book of Mormon would be on my top 5 things to do. And for the sake of it..... Let's just say i'm 16  I would really like to kiss someone before I die. I would also apologize to anyone I have hurt or anyone that I have been or am still angry with. I would also write a letter to every person that has made an impact in my life. That way they will always have something to remember me by and they will also understand that they made my life better. Meeting the prophet would be nice but my family and friends are the people I would want to be spending my time with, doing what ever makes them all happy.

from my nephew Ryan:

  • Ah, that is difficult. Well first I would quit my job. Then I would probably spend my time reading the scriptures, going to the temple and sharing the gospel with my friends. I might also consider making my feelings known for a certain girl. 
  • I would definitely be completely open and honest with everyone.

    From Lisa, one of my 18 yr old Young Women:

    Spend all the time I could with those I love and get closer to my savior. It'd be nice to see the world and go places you've always dreamed. Cherish every moment

    from McCarey...whom I love...

    : I would spend time traveling the world with people I loved. I would want to volunteer in third world countries and meet people from all over the world. I would want to hear what different people from different places had to say about life. I would spend A lot of time praying to see what I believed and felt.

    Cherie  a hiking friend, responded-

    I think the main answer for me would be to spend as much time as I can with my family. I would also want to create memory books or something for each of my kids with mementos and a letter telling them what they mean to me with hopes for their future, etc.
    If able, I would also love to travel possibly to a couple places with my family. Top of the list would be Rome Italy where I went to high school. Also possibly Germany where I met my husband and had my 1st child and my 1st real job.
    That is what comes to mind now.

    Lisa, another good hiking buddy said:

    After I have a good cry and wonder how I got myself into this situation (because I would automatically assume I did something to cause it...)
    My Initial thought would be what I'd need to do to get my house in order?
    Is my will in order, do I have a living will, where is my insurance paperwork, etc.
    I would then write out a plan as to how I want to spend my time and who I want to spend it with.

    Thank you friends!! YOu are all loved and appreciated and respected!!!



Anonymous said...

This is the second time I am writing this.....
I am not sure why I don't get your blog automatically. Anyway, after searching for it tonight you made me cry. In sort of a good way.
I miss you and consider myself priviledged to be considered your friend.
Love you

Carly Reid said...

Wow, Aunt Cindy. Powerful post! Love you.