Next time you see a rainbow
~ Claire Amy Atkins
THE LAST TIME
8 April 2004
Its too bad we arent born with a crystal ball so we can know when the last time is...the last time.
Think of how much fuller our lives would be if we could know that this was the last time we were going to do something.
Think of how we would be certain to offer a special treat, give that extra skritch, be sure to go for that last walk, if we realized that our dog was going to run in front of a car this afternoon.
Think of how we would make sure that our child left the house with a smile on his face, having had a good talk and a big hug from Mom if we knew that he was about to wrap his car around a light post that afternoon.
Think of how we would be certain to leave nothing left unsaid, smooth over hurt feelings, let our friends know how we feel about them if we realized that it was the last time we'd ever see them.
The world can change in an instant and wouldnt it be nice to have a crystal ball to predict when changes are coming so we can savor "the lasts" in our life?
(Of course it can go the other way as well. If we knew that our "last days" were upon us, would we still feel compelled to diet, to exercise, to go to that job we hate? Would we turn down chocolate if it was our last opportunity for chocolate?)
Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we lived as if every day was our "last," every experience we have with people we love is "the last time" we'll have that experience. If rather than concentrating on "next time" we enjoy "this time" to the fullest.
I think of my father's last day with my sister, which ended with a big blow-up, and the guilt he had to live with for the rest of his life because all he could think of was how he ended their last day.
I wonder if he thought about his father's last day. How when his father was breathing his last breath, my own father was out getting a haircut, having dropped my mother off at the rest home first. If he could go back, would he have stayed and been there for the last moments of my grandfather's life?
Every moment we have is a potential "last moment." It may be the last chance we'll have to laugh together, to share a special activity together, to confide in one another.
For anyone who has suffered loss in his/her life, there is a keener sense of not wasting those moments, a greater realization of the very real possibility that each moment may be "the last," crystal ball or not.
After David died, we all were just a bit more conscientious about speaking our love to each other. Paul, in particular, always made certain that he ended every conversation with me by saying "I love you" and it has always been a comfort knowing that those were the last words that passed between us.
I remember when my friend Bill was dying in Houston. His partner Mike was terrified that Bill would die when he was out of the room and that he'd lose the opportunity to make certain that the last words he spoke to this man that he loved so dearly was "I love you."
Nobody is going to give us a crystal ball. All we can do is to make certain that time we spend with people we love is savored to the fullest, that when we discover that we've had our "last time," that there are no regrets about things that didn't get done, things that didn't get said, things that weren't savored.
But then I suppose that if we had a crystal ball, it would probably take all the fun out of things, wouldn't it.
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