You only live once - except you're James Bond. Then you live twice! ;-)
I saw this oldie but goodie on my flight to L.A.
As I was saying when I was scrolling through the meetings with my Los Angeles and Seattle friends, it made me think of something...
I don't want to sound morbid, but here goes:
A trip like this is something I might do if I got a diagnose like "you only have a couple of months to live - you can try and get treatment, spend what little time you have left in hospitals or go out there and spend it with people who are important to you!"
I'm glad and grateful that I got to do this while being young and healthy and without the bitter taste of "this might have been the last time we saw each other."
Even though you can't really know.
Last year we lost a bunch of friends and family members. In that post I mentioned my father's youngest sister, C. She also attended the funeral, and I told her about the many funerals I had been attending.
As it was going to turn out, this was going to be the last time we saw each other, too.
She hadn't been feeling well for a while and went to see a doctor in December. They told her that things were not looking good at all. Cancer cells in the large intestine, liver and lung. The first chemo treatment must have been really bad, so she decided to quit.
On Valentine's Day she sent a message to her siblings, my Dad being one of them, informing them that she was probably not going to make it. She asked us not to call. She didn't want to talk about it, and basically just wanted to be left alone.
"Maybe if I feel better we could meet for a picnic in spring" she suggested.
This was the first time I heard about her being sick.
I thought about e-mailing her. Only what was I going to say?
How unfair is this, you have been living as a health nut, being a vegetarian, taking long walks with your dog, and this is what you get? Only 66 years old? (Same age as my Mom. Don't even get me started..)
Then my surprise trip came up, and I had other things to think about.
A few days prior my departure there was a strange envelope in our mail. Lime green with birds on it, not doves, more like flying something birds.
She had prepared her own death notice.
John Lennon's "Imagine" lyrics, a few personal words, don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened...
She never made it to the picnic.
So what I'm gonna do here, is to share some picture of our last family get-together when my brother and two of his kids were visiting from Israel.
It was a super hot day in July. We went to an area in the forest that was full of caves and hollows.
We used to come here when my brother, my cousins and I were little.
The lady on the left is my aunt C, in the middle my cousin, and on the right my brother
My Dad with two of his grandkids, Colin and Neil, my brother's middle son
My lovely niece, Liv
On the right my Mom with C, my Godfather and his wife
So this was going to be the last cheerful event I was going to share with my aunt.
What does this tell us:
Don't postpone things that are important to you! Big and little things!
Take that trip, move to that house, tell this person you love them or that you're sorry!
You can't be sure that everybody is going to be around "later" or "as soon as x or y is over".
You only live once - make it a good life!