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Only 10 days left

April 29, 2010 - Jennifer Brookens

As I was covering the presentation given by Dave Pelzer (author of the series "A Child Named 'It,'" which documented his abuse as a child and how he made it through), he was much more of an entertaining speaker than I thought he would be. I thought I was going to have a tough time listening to his stories, but as it turns out he has a fantastic sense of humor and didn't want to dwell much on his past. I laughed a lot more than I thought I would and didn't tear up as much...

But through the humor and stories, there was a common thread I noticed: he stressed being happy with what you have now, and striving for everything else. A few times he brought this point up: if you found out you had 10 days left to live, what would you do? Good point... Would you sit there and wallow in self-pity, asking, 'Why me?' Or would you use it as a chance to say 'no more excuses' and take those crazy chances you always wanted to but never did.

Dave said he'd go shopping, and I can't blame him there (but then my family would still be stuck with the credit card bills).  As I thought about it the rest of the day, I realized that even in my last 10 days on Earth, I would be doing as much as I could for my kids. We'd go to the amusement parks and I'd go on the rides with them. I'd go to the beach with them, swimsuit and all, and not worry about how many fat ripples were showing or if I'd shaved my legs as I splash in the surf with my kids. I'd play all the silly games and really participate instead of just doing it half-heartedly to ensure the kids win. My husband and I would pop open that last bottle of champagne we have from our wedding, and have it with fresh strawberries and dine on salmon ravioli (the meal we had on our first date) and lobster tail (something we've always wanted, but never had the chance to order together... yet.)

As for me, I wouldn't sleep... I'll have all of eternity for that. And what would I do as everyone else is sleeping and recharging? I'd write. I'd write letters to my kids for those milestones later on (teenagers, college, marriage, their own kids) All my friends from childhood through now - I would tell them how they made my life better, and rekindle those memories, making sure they lived on. Definitely would leave a world of thanks and love to my family. And I'd finally knock out that mystery series I'm mentally writing everyday and get it sent off... Hey, as a posthumous manuscript, it should be more valuable, right?

The point Dave was trying to make is why wait until the writing's on the wall to make it happen? Maybe I need to start writing some letters tonight...


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