Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Live for Today

December 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Aspire to Inspire, Just me

Live for Today

As I stood behind the curtains waiting for the school bus to empty at the end of the street, I was careful not to be seen because after all K is 13 and too old for me to watch over!  I waited for the buses loud contents to start to spill in my direction when my eye was caught by flashing blue lights from the other end of our lane.

A fire engine and ambulance were 7 doors away at the girls’ friends’ house, someone must have slipped and fallen, and I made a mental note to find out if I could help when my daughter got her text update.   The ambulance stayed longer than a slip and fall though, and when my youngest finally got the text, we heard that death had visited our neighborhood.

I didn’t know the lady, but several weeks into school I had horrified K by pulling over to pick up the 7th grader running to the bus stop in the monsoon rain.  Luckily she recognized the girls from the bus stop and my car from the driveway so only hesitated slightly and a quick friendship grew between her and the cool 8th grader who is my youngest daughter.

What do you say?

Suddenly I was faced with comforting my daughter and helping her find the words to talk to her pal.  What do you say to a 12 year old who lost her Mom and is faced with living with a Step Dad as her siblings have already left home?  A big hug, a smile and “you know were I am if you need me” is what I managed, on everything else I’ve chosen to hold my peace until she exercises the mandate.   I content myself with picking her up on the road if she’s running late, chiding her for riding her bike on the wrong side of the road, handing out snacks when she’s on her way home starving as usual and fastening her jacket on cold mornings the way I do with J & K as I drop them at the bus stop.

Personal epiphany

On a personal level I’m reminded that we must live every day as if it is our last, I tried to explain that to K but.. she’s 13, and still wrapped in the cloak on invincibility.

My Nana always said we come into this life with an expiry date we just can’t see it and certainly no-one has shared what mine is.  I’ve spent much of my life pushing that theory by doing crazy extreme stuff only to land in a wheelchair having a baby, so I’m tempted to believe it.  I have a friend who literally fell off the top of a mountain, landed at the bottom and lived (4000 feet off Ben Nevis and only broke his pelvis) and another who went to bed with a headache and never got up.

All you can hope for is that people tell their family how much they love them.  Did she have a good life and teach her daughter what she needs to know?  I’m sure that this woman didn’t expect to die in her forties, a mere 10 minutes before her daughter was due home from school.  What was on her bucket list? How far had she gone on her path of self actualization? Had she even heard of Abraham Mazlow?

Of course I’ll probably never know, all any of us can do is take the lesson into our own lives.  From all appearances this woman had a man who loved her and at least got to see the birth of her 1st grandchild. Will I achieve that?   We all tend to act like we’re going to live forever, until we find out that we wont.

I’ve visited too many homes to help clean up after a death to find new sheets stored, new clothes stored, a wish list of holiday destinations on a dream board.   We postpone things we know we want to do.  We spend money on another set of china that we keep for best, or an extra special outfit just in case we  go to a wedding.

Doing it now

Well, apart from those absolute necessities I’m opting for doing, and doing now.   Doing more things with my children, even if they complain they don’t need me to be there.   We are planning our adventures not for when, but for now…  The personal growth is now,… the self actualization..now,…. the happiness ..now,… pushing the limits and testing myself… now, facing my fears… NOW.

I owe it to this lady, her 12 year old daughter, my girls and myself to live for today!

What are you going to do?

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

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20 Responses to “Live for Today”
  1. Allison Rapp says:

    Laine, I think there’s not much comfort for a young girl in this situation. Letting her know that you’re there for her is probably the most important thing you could have done, and hopefully, she’ll take advantage of your offer … often.

  2. oh dear Laine… you are just thinking like a dog!

    but in all seriousness, this is a fantastic post and a wonderful reminder to live in the “now”, for there may not be “later”. I’m so sorry though that your daughter has to learn this deep lesson at a young age and the pain she feels for her friend.

    Hugs, licks and good thoughts to you all.

    Heidi & Atticus
    “commentary to give you paws…”

  3. Hi Laine,

    A very moving post and a tough topic to tackle…..

    Unfortunately, I can totally relate to this…..my brother was killed instantly in April this year in a traffic accident, he was 36. He left behind my three nephews aged 12, 8 and 4. It’s very hard to know what to say to kids in this situation. I’ve found so far that talking openly about what happened and how they feel has been the best for them, as well as continuing to talk about my brother with them. Sometimes people can feel it’s best not to raise the subject as you don’t want to upset them, but often the kids want to talk about it too, but don’t know how to raise the subject. We also found a great site called Winstons Wish which deals with this topic for kids. For us it was very hard as we were also dealing with our own grief, but I think it was important not to try and hide that as it was comforting for them to know and still know that we’re struggling too….It sounds like the little girl knows that you’re there for her and looking out for her, which is great :)

    In terms of living every day to it’s fullest, I’ve always believed this, but it’s easy to forget, sometimes you need a reminder. I also think it’s important to live the life you want to live, not the life you think you should live…..I’m happy knowing that my brother did, he followed his passions, I just wish he could have enjoyed more days….

    :)

  4. ChrisLWagner says:

    Wonderful, insightful post Laine. I completely agree that we have to live as if it’s our last day. My heart goes out to that 12 year old. She must be so lost right now.

  5. So unimaginably sad, a young child losing her mother. My mother lost her own mother at age 15, and I think it affected her for the rest of her life. Young children cannot really understand mortality, “live each day as if…” or any attempt to rationalize. You are so right, the real answer is “I love you” and a “hug” and a willingness to be present for the emotions and uncertainties. I do think this is a very meaningful post for those of us who want to give what we can, while we can. No time to waste…

  6. I remember you telling me about this woman, so very sad. A similar thing happened to me when I was Chairperson at my daughters playgroup in the UK. I had just got to know a woman who had joined our committee when her twin girls started the playgroup at 3 years old. Well the woman was just getting ready to go out when she shouted to her husband that she felt ‘funny’ and then dropped dead. Turns out she had a rare and undiagnosed syndrome that had been accelerated by her twin pregnancy – not only that it’s hereditary and one of the girls has it. As Chairperson I decided it was up to me to go visit the poor bereaving Dad and help him sort out getting the girls back to playgroup. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Sue’s death really brought it home to me that we have a sell by date and I try to remember that most of the time – but we all get wrapped up in stuff and forget at times. I do tell my family how much I love them all the time though but do you know – I think I’m going to make a video for each of them too. Just in case….. Oh blow I’m crying now and one of my Au pairs is coming round. Off to blow my nose.
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears and Frontiers Over Fifty

  7. Laine D. says:

    I think you are right Allison. I make sure we do not avoid the subject of her Mom, in fact I encourage it but we will see. My girls were floored when I stopped my car and told her to ride with traffic or on the sidewalk but she grinned and told them I was just keeping her safe so..

    All we can ever offer anyone is the promise we will be there heh!

    Thanks
    Laine D.

  8. Laine D. says:

    I’ll take that as a huge compliment – coming from a place of unconditional love.

    It is interesting watching my daughter deal with this. This is the 1st loss she has had to endure other than small animals ( fish, mice) – we have had family members pass but not ones that she had a real relationship with. When my Dad died she was too young (4) and really didn’t know him since we were in the US and he in the UK. She had met this lady and had snacks at her house and spends a lot of time with the girl.

    Thank you for finding the point, as ever!

    Laine D

  9. Laine D. says:

    Hi Annette,

    Actually this wasn’t what I set out to write about… but obviously something that was hovering in my head. I’m finding that my writing is an extension of my unconscious thoughts or immediate angst. Obviously something I needed to deal with or at least express.

    I am so sorry about your brother. What a terrible tragedy and heartrending loss.

    So difficult too to deal with a sudden loss like that and somewhat of a different issue than losing someone by a long and lingering path, taking time to adjust to something that is imminent rather than gone in an instant. While we all might choose to go quickly the path for those left behind is much harder.

    Unless you have read all of my site you may not be aware that I was widowed, my husband left for work and never came back. All of the things that I meant to say and didn’t ~ all the things I wished I had apologized for, said thanks for, laughed about. Although it took longer for my Dad to pass I wasn’t there and he wasn’t in a condition to talk to me ~ ‘we’ still talk frequently! well I talk and know what he would say… I wish I could go on that John Edwards show just in case they came through. Whether you believe in that or not, it is still a valid method – not visiting a spiritualist but continuing the relationship.

    I might suggest a “letters to my Dad” or indeed “letters to my Brother” because you are totally correct people find it easier not to talk to you about it and you need to express what you are feeling.

    It is so wonderful that you know you brother followed his passions and his boys should be reminded to do the same. Wow – Living the Life you want to live is a wonderful lesson, perhaps a blog post for both of us.

    We would all be guilty of saying …. if I had one more day I would……….

    Thank you so much for this response I know it was not easy to write ~ as our days are numbered so should we number them with the days we chose to LIVE!

    You and your family are in my thoughts

    Laine D.

  10. Laine D. says:

    Actually Chris I think outwardly she is dealing with it better than any of those around her. Someone bought her a big sloppy puppy, bull mastiff – I think which allows her to take on the “mothering” role but I am not sure it will help her deal with the loss. My youngest said I wish someone would give me one (we have 4 dogs already) and her sister said “I’m sure she would rather have her Mom”.

    Especially at Christmas it will be hard and those around her will attempt to keep her busy and buy her more to distract her… hopefully they will deal with her need to talk too. She is a great kid.

    Laine D.

  11. Laine D. says:

    I’m definitely hoping that people will deal with her emotional needs instead of keeping her cheerful and giving her stuff! As I just said to Chris Wagner – her sister bought her a Bull Mastiff puppy which is wonderful but…

    While Nike’s tagline “Just do it” is great, it applies to where you are in your life and that we should not to prevaricate in following your dreams. The need to be present, active, involved and giving speaks to another aspect of our lives…something we should do from inception to final destination. A great point Judy!

    Thank you
    Laine D.

  12. Laine D. says:

    Hi Louise,

    Sorry for the tears… I think I’m guilty of causing quite a few! On the good side as we’ve blogged about putting it into words brings catharsis and some resolve or resolution!

    You were incredibly supportive to me when this happened (as you always are) and perhaps having seen it happen before gave you the deeper level of understanding to help. Ironically I didn’t even know the woman but as a Mother thought of her child and mine. Hopefully with they will deal with this little girls emotional needs and that the diagnosis of Sue’s condition means they can treat her daughters.

    Any loss is incredibly tough but an unexpected loss is devastating. For me I hope to go suddenly but do we dare to hope that we have our ducks in a row.

    A Sell by Date is a great way of putting it… sort of inception and expiry. Having a video or journal to give her girls would be wonderful – your Mom was…. Your Mom would have loved the fact that you have…. I’ve been keeping a journal for years for the girls recording their antics, telling the stories of what they got up to, something I’ve been lax about recently but they are constantly asking me to retell the story of J and the keys or K and the bandaid.
    We forget that much of our lives is an oral retelling – the pictures are great but without someone to put them in context they are just pics from a magazine.

    Sorry about the pink nose !
    Laine D

  13. Very inspirational,Laine! Sometimes we do learn best through others misfortunes. I too am living for now. The main reason we moved to Belize was because we felt life was too short, so why wait another 20 years, why not do it now. And so glad we did.

    Sharon Hiebing
    Follow Your Dream Compass

  14. Laine D. says:

    Life is too short for a lot of things Sharon, to be miserable, to be in the wrong place. or the wrong job!

    I almost moved to Saint Lucia to start a dive business 20 years ago but my husband died and it never happened. Have spent some time looking at Roatan but… will have to see how things work.

    Laine D.

  15. Nancy Anderson says:

    Hi Laine,
    What a heartbreaking story. Any loss of a loved one is devastating but the loss of a Mom is so very difficult (especially at such a young age). I will certainly keep this little girl in my prayers. It will be a tough Christmas.
    Like you, I too continue to speak to my parents. I can almost hear their responses. Today I did a funny little thing – I put on my Mom’s favorite perfume as I was going to a luncheon and said, “Come along to the lunch Mom, you’ll enjoy it!” Goofy for sure!
    Life is speeding by. The “I love you’s” and hugs need to be said and given with feeling every single day because we never know what is around the corner.
    Lovely post Laine, my thoughts are with that little girl.

  16. admin says:

    Hi Nancy,

    Yes very sad, but she is bouncing back. In fact I worry that she isn’t being encouraged to deal with it but move on instead, and we all now what consequences that can bring. She will have sad moments for sure and someone will with good intent chivvy her along instead of allowing her to mourn!

    What a lovely thought, taking your Mom to lunch 😀 Smell is our strongest and most emotive sense so it totally works. My Nana always smelled of Palma violets and I smile just thinking about it. We are our memories, as you say the hugs and loves and smells, and if we don’t take them out to look at them we are apt to loose them. I hope Kaylee is encouraged to keep hers.

    Maybe the story will teach us to hold on a little tighter to what we have and remember to live.

    Laine D.

  17. Beautiful post, Laine. I think in these situations it is best to be honest and real. For those left behind, death always sucks…not having a mom at so young just sucks. I think keeping the memory of her mom alive and not being afraid to talk about her mom is important. And, having other mom figures around ready to support and nurture you is huge – exactly what you are doing.
    Brandy Mychals
    Split Second Perceptions

  18. Laine D. says:

    As the Mom of two girls around this age I have thought about this a lot… I’m sure you do too.

    I plan on visiting her Dad and asking if I can give her a journal to write to her Mom and plan to be there as much as they will let me.

    Its what I hope any Mom would do for me.

    Laine D

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