I’m never at a loss for words .. but you already know that, right?
Mom called me this morning and told me that my cousin wanted to talk to me. She asked that I call late this afternoon. She’s undergoing radiation and mom said the evenings are the best time to talk to her. That was a phone call I did NOT want to make! I called a couple of times and got no answer so left a message so she would know I had tried to call. Each time the voice mail picked up, I felt relieved. But, I knew I could not let Robin pass on without having talked to her so I called until I spoke with her.
I didn’t know a single thing to say! She and I have talked on the phone for hours and suddenly, nothing that came into my head was right to say and everything I thought was right, sounded completely wrong when it came out.
I guess it’s always like this. Most of us hopefully don’t get enough experience in dealing with friends and family who have only days left to live, to be comfortable in talking with them. The idle chit-chat we’ve talked about so often in the past suddenly seemed stupid, meaningless and downright childish.
What was I supposed to say? What did she want to hear? She knows I’m sorry and would do anything I could to change her circumstances. Did she want the idle chit-chat we’ve done so often late into the night? Did she just want something that seemed normal?
She sounded very weak and her words were very slurred and I could hardly understand her. In fact, a couple of times I wasn’t even sure what she said and I just said “yes”, hoping that wasn’t a totally wrong response. When we started to hang up, she asked me to call her again tomorrow. I will. Maybe the words will come easier, maybe not. I feel so inadequate.
I hung up and sat down outside on the concrete sidewall and cried. I thought about what really matters in life. I tried to imagine how I would feel if I only had a few days left to live. I can’t even grasp it. I can’t think like that. I’m not in that position, as far as I know. The words to Tim McGraw’s song, Life Like You’re Dying, came to mind. This is what I will go to bed thinking about tonight:
He said I was in my early forties
with a lot of life before me
when a moment came that stopped me on a dime
and I spent most of the next days
looking at the x-rays
Talking bout the options
and talking bout sweet time
I asked him when it sank in
that this might really be the real end
how’s it hit you when you get that kinda news
man what’d you do
and he said
I went sky diving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManchu
and I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
and I gave forgiveness I’d been denying
and he said someday I hope you get the chance
to live like you were dying.
He said I was finally the husband
that most the time I wasn’t
and I became a friend a friend would like to have
and all the sudden going fishin
wasn’t such an imposition
and I went three times that year I lost my dad
well I finally read the good book
and I took a good long hard look
at what I’d do if I could do it all again
Like tomorrow was a gift and you got eternity to think about
what’d you do with it what did you do with it
what did I do with it
what would I do with it’