“So what would you think of me now?
So lucky, so strong, so proud
I never said thank you for that
Now I’ll never have a chance
And if you were with me tonight
I’d sing to you just one more time
A song for a heart so big
God couldn’t let it live
May angels lead you in”
– “Hear You Me”
Jimmy Eat World
It was so sudden – she was here one day and gone the next.
Go in there, they said, tell her everything you want to say. But how do you say everything to someone you are used to talking to whenever, about anything and everything?
I simply told her that I loved her. I loved her so much. But I thought we would have the next day, and we didn’t.
We arrived at the hospital minutes after she passed away, and the nurse on duty had been by her side when it happened. I wanted answers; I wanted something rational to balance my emotional feelings.
“Isn’t it hard to have this job?”, I asked her. After all, it seemed so difficult to watch people in pain, the patients and the families. A cardiac care unit experiences death almost regularly – not like other units where recovery and hope are the norm.
“Yes, it is hard to have this job. But it teaches you one thing. There is only one certainty in life.” she told me, “And that is, we all have our time.”
At the time, her response, while calming, seemed trite.
When I went home that night, I finally understood what she told me. The certainty in death is knowing that you can’t expect a next day, a next hour, or a next moment, as I did with my Nanny. The one you have could be your last.
Life is short. She may have lived eighty four years, but I was only able to spend twenty seven of mine with her. I am grateful, looking back at memories of time we spent together, but feel that many of her dreams for me were left unfulfilled. She wanted nothing more than to see me get married, find a career that makes me happy, and have children. I only wish I could have accomplished these feats while she was with me.
I am left with a renewed sense of “the big picture”, of what’s truly important.
Being with my family and friends, showing the love I feel for them, every moment of every day.
Having time for people, making time for people.
Finding “true love” – the kind that makes your heart shine; finding the person that you will love even more, sixty years from today. The person who you would leave the Earth for, just to be with in Heaven.
Embracing a purpose in life that matters – pursuing a dream that has been put aside.
Living in the moment – not in the reckless, careless way – but in the way that reminds you there may not be another opportunity to do so.
I only hope that when I do accomplish all of this, she is looking down on me and seeing what she taught me. A day won’t go by that I don’t wish things could be different, that I could still have her with me. But I can find peace in knowing that her both her life and her passing reminded me of the life I want to lead.