Live each day as if it could be your last…

I penned these words two years ago and have since had the chance to re-evaluate them.

“Had a thought today….well, I actually have a lot of them, but this one was one of those aha moments. Yesterday was what would have been my husband Michael’s 64th birthday. He passed in 1998 and in the last nearly 16 years, I have evolved into someone who in many ways nowhere near resembles the woman I was back then. As I was out walking today, I made a list of all of the things I have experienced since then. Graduated from The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies as an interfaith minister, became a certified Cuddle Party! facilitator, a free lance journalist, a bereavement counselor, an organ donor educator, the host of two different radio shows (one past, one current), and a published author. I have likely met many thousands of people since then in all of those capacities and in friendship, have had lovely relationships with various ‘intimates’, have learned a great deal from those who weren’t so lovely(:

A few days ago, I was sharing with a friend who asked what it was like to have a heart attack. One of my first thoughts when it occurred was a calm acknowledgment “hmmm. I’m having a heart attack.” No “OMG, I’m gonna die.” panic accompanied it.” No fear of death since I am certain that love and light await me when I ‘arrive’.

Today, after the memorial service for my friend Bob Goodwin, I was speaking with a few friends who didn’t think I was crazy for raising the subject that if today was my last day on Earth, I would be ready to roll. Not that I’m planning on it. I live each day as if it could be. I’ve lived with passion and purpose and while there are still many things on my bucket list, I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences. A shake up wake up call can have you thinking about this stuff.”

Now it is August 3, 2016 and Michael would have been 66 yesterday. In the interceding two years I have finally let go of residual anger and resentment, regret and shame around the incidents in my marriage. Wishing that both of us had been different, is a futile endeavor, since there’s nothing I can do to roll back the clock. I had a conversation with him while walking along a road in my neighborhood a few years ago (I speak with him often and imagine that he is indeed sitting in front of me or strolling beside me.) and telling him that I wish he had been kinder and more patient and that I had been more assertive and responsible. Had that been so, we would certainly have had a better marriage. Sighing, I realized that it was what it was for a reason. No more regrets for choices made. Simply making better ones now. Being more assertive and responsible. Calling in kind and patient people into my life. Honoring what we shared. Moving on. I wonder what our lives would have been like had he received the long awaited liver transplant and survived. Would we have remained together even in the best of circumstances? Would I still have become a free lance journalist and on- the- road speaker?  I would likely not have become a minister, since that was originally his dream and not mine. I know I would not have met so many who are now treasures in my life. Would our son Adam have made the choices (the good ones and those that were ill-advised) he had and be living the life of his dreams? I am grateful for how things have turned out for him as he is planning his wedding to a wonderful woman who is the best thing that has ever happened to him.

Adding to the list of what I have done in the last two years. I have traveled and taught in more places. I have vacationed in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Hilton Head, Las Vegas, Phoenix and California, where I officiated at the wedding of our niece Jenna who was the two-year-old flower girl at our wedding. I have edited a few books and contributed to some others. I have connected heart to heart with even more people. I will be taking what feels like a monumental leap in a few weeks when I head out to Portland, Oregon to teach and meet my tribe of new friends there.  More FREE Hugs events have brought joy to folks, including this consummate cuddler. My friend Tom calls me the ‘Mutha Hugger’ which suits me.

I have faced fierce fears and peeled off the layers to reveal the real. Getting more transparent by the day. Still not afraid to die. If this was the last day of my life, I will have lived it well.


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