Sunday, May 06, 2007

48 Seconds

What is the last thing you said to someone you care about? I'm not talking about the last thing you said, while sitting at the bedside of a dying relative. I'm talking about the last thing you said to your healthy spouse...or your radiant child? Was it important? Or, was it something that, if that were the last thing you had said, would seem trivial?
I ask because I am feeling my mortality. And, as that creeps upon me, I'm feeling the mortality of everyone around me. It's almost crossing a line into "neurotic".

My husband called. He was running P#1 to a steel drum performance and, in the time between dropping her off and picking her up, he didn't have enough time to make it home and back. He called out of courtesy for me. He called to say that he was going to find a quiet park, or bookstore, or something, to investigate with P#3 and P#4. And, what did I say? For this courtesy... what did I say, "Yeah... do whatever. That's fine." He said "ok. Bye." and we hung up. When I pressed the "off" button on the phone, I realized that it was a forty-eight second call. What if that, by some twist of fate, was the last thing I said to my husband? "Yeah. Whatever. Fine." Would I regret it? YOU BET YOUR ASS! Why, as humans, do we drift into complancency with those we love? ESPECIALLY those we love?

It doesn't matter if you're an atheist or a theist. Rather than giving Sundays to deities... why not give forty-eight seconds of your Sunday to someone you care about? Give them a call. Say "Hello!" and make sure you end the conversation with something you won't regret. If each person did something this simple, every Sunday, I think we'd be on the verge of something remarkable. Think of the regrets we wouldn't have!

Ok. I'll get off my emo soapbox. I have to call my husband back. :)


David W. said...

I try to keep this in mind as often as I can. For instance, if my wife and the kiddos leave for something (I work at home, so I'm always there when they go out), I drop everything and make sure I kiss everyone in the car. Even if I've got a looming deadline and I'm too busy to get up for anything else, nobody leaves without a kiss. Call me paranoid, but that's thirty seconds I would hate myself for not spending if something happened to them while they're gone.

aimee said...

You have no idea how many times something like this has crossed my mind. I always tell my hubby I love him and be careful and kiss him goodbye in the morning, sometimes I purposely linger a little extra longer. It sounds redundant everytime he gets in the car to go somewhere, but I know I would regret it if I hadn't told him to be careful.

My kids get a hug(when they let me), but I always tell them I love them before they run out the door for school. Sometimes I have to say it 3 or 4 times until they say it back.

Everytime we call eachother there is always an I Love You, even if I had just talked to him 5 minutes prior about something else.

I think worrying is in my nature though. I probably worry too much that when they walk out that door, that it could be the last time.

Robyn said...

So true. So important. So easy to forget, but I try really, really hard not to. Here's why...

My husband was working in the Chicago Board of Trade on 9/11. We were talking on the phone when the first Tower fell. I put the phone down for a second to check on our 17 month old. When I came back, he was gone. Didn't answer his office phone. Didn't answer his cell phone. I was changing channels and surfing the net for info for over an hour trying to find out where he was. He finally called about 90 minutes later. They evacuated his building and he was on a train home. It was truly the longest, scariest 90 minutes of my life.

Ever since then, no matter how angry I am, no matter how stupid he's acting, no matter what, I always say "I love you" when he leaves in the morning and we hang up the phone. I don't ever want my last words to be anything different. And I can always be a bitch in person when he gets home. ;)

Sean the Blogonaut said...

You had me goin there for a minute. I thought something bad had befallen your husband -palpitations have subsided now.

You are right though. We often take our loved ones for granted, get distrcte by unimportant things. Just off to hug and kiss the wife ;)

Kazim said...

Hey, we can't all come up with something like "With great power comes great responsibility" as our last words.

Rieux said...

It doesn't matter if you're an atheist or a theist.

I think it matters. If I believed in an afterlife (and a loving/just deity that runs it), I could just count on picking up with the person in Heaven.

I'm not exactly the first person to realize this, but we nonbelievers are forced to concentrate all of our energy on this life. Our stakes (in this kind of question anyway) are vastly higher.

aimee said...

Robyn, I know it is way after the fact, but I'm sincerely glad that your husband was able to make it home to you.

I forgot to add that I think my family is a little nuts because I ask my husband to always call me when he gets to work and before he leaves. It's not that I'm keeping tabs on him, I just feel better knowing that he made it and is on his way home : )

aimee said...


Even if you are a theist, you don't want that day to come and pick it up with them later. I think many would still prefer to be here to live out their lives with the ones they love. The thought of heaven might ease the pain to a point, but you would still hurt just the same.

Wog the Bugger said...

I'd like contribute one more idea and that is saying "thank you".

My partner does so many little things for me everyday. After eight years, I'm sure all of it could be easily taken for granted. Thank you for making coffee.
Thank you for cooking dinner. Thank you for washing the car. Thank you for loading the dishes. etc. etc.

I make an effort to NEVER take it for granted and say "thank you" and tell him how nice his gesture made my day. Oh yah... I tell him I love him a lot too. ;)


Té la mà Maria said...

irreverent e iconoclast


Pasa said...

De-cloaking here :)

Unfortunately it's life. It would be wonderful to be able to say all, the right things, at the right time. It doesn't happen.

Being a practical not theist, what ever we say to someone before they.. only matters to the us, the person that says the words. It's too late for the other...

Hard but true.

Nicest Girl said...

I'm very aware of my mortality and that of those around me. I never leave the house without kissing, hugging, and telling my boyfriend that I love him. I have left kind of mad once or twice (a long time ago) and it stuck with me all day and bugged me. The other day he said to me "Sometimes I think 'I wonder when our last kiss will be' and it makes me sad." and that just strengthened my awareness of it all.

Lill said...

Boy, this hit home. A little over a year ago, my 11 yr old son had a doctor's appt for a stomach virus and fever. On the way there, he asked me if he could start home schooling again, because he hated school. I told him I'd think about it. I had spent the whole summer taking care of my elderly mother, who died in September. I needed time to recover, so I sent my two youngest kids to school, although they'd homeschooled the year before, because I thought it was the best thing for them.When we got to my son's doctor's office, the doctor called an ambulance. We went to the ER and my son was admitted.By then, he was unable to hear me. He died from sepsis in the children's ICU the next day. I have a bumper sticker that reads, "How soon 'not now' becomes 'never'." I say "yes" unless there's a good reason to say "no". I hug and kiss my kids and husband when they leave, even if they're only going down to get the mail, and I tell them I love them often, because life is uncertain.