If you found out you only had a month left to live how would you spend that time? At first you might want to just close the blinds and be mad at the world. At times you might pray to God and thank him for all of the wonderful things you experienced in life. You might want to travel to someplace warm or fun. But what if you were too sick to go? Instead of just hitting the like button on your friend’s Facebook picture, maybe you would pick up the phone or get in the car and go say hello. Who would you want to get a hold of first? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to waste your time filling out financial and legal documents, so make sure that is checked off your list. If you knew you had less than 1,000 hours left here on Earth-what would you start doing and what would you stop doing?
My Grandfather, Robert, is what I (Nolan) considered a “man’s man.” He was a perfect example of how a man should act and live his life. Strong, honest, loyal, hard working and thrifty, he is a great, caring person who never wanted a free hand out, but would be the first person to step up to help others out. As a family we spent countless hours growing up together at Clear Lake and in Warsaw, Indiana. A great saver, he even kept track of the daily prices of the stock market, accordingly the two of us would find ourselves talking about the economy as I became a financial professional.
My Mother, Kathleen, was born in my favorite city, San Diego, California. Kathy was born out of love to her mother, Edith and her father who served in the military and is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia. She met my Father in high school and they started their family and career in Bryan, Ohio. My mother was active in helping to start the barn festival in Bryan and my Dad and I were in Cub Scouts together. We spent countless hours playing golf and swimming at the pool at Orchard Hills Country Club. Years after I lost my Father, my Mom married Bob, her husband for the last 20 years.
I am a “mama’s boy.” I would go everywhere and do anything for Mom. She taught me about being free while loving the moment you are in so it’s no surprise that I learned to be adventurous. At times, I also learned what it must feel like to be the Public Relations Manager for Donald Trump. Often times my mom would just shoot from the hip and create last minute changes in plans. From living in a houseboat in Florida, to driving halfway across the US, to sitting in our sweatpants watching the sunset at the lake, we lived life.
On July 21st my Mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As my sister and I jumped into action to help Mom out, we also found out that my Grandfather ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. And within a few days heaven had gained an incredible person when Grandfather passed away. Five weeks, only 35 days after my Mom first found out she had cancer, I then lost my Mother. I had always heard there were angels on Earth, but I never experienced it until I met the people at Hospice through my mom’s experience. They are amazing, moreover, incredibly special people beyond what I can write. One thing I remember my Mother saying on the way to hospice inpatient care is “I didn’t think it would go this fast.” Now I stop and think about that. It was only 35 days from the day she was diagnosed with cancer until she passed away. That is less than 1,000 hours.
For me, and hopefully for our readers, this is a reminder to get out there and live. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of solving the problems of the present, without ever, as they say, “stopping to smell the roses.” If there is someone you have a broken relationship with, today is the day you should forgive them. If you need to reconnect with a friend or loved one, make the phone call. Maybe you have always thought about taking that trip or being daring enough to go on that adventure – what better time than now?