January 21, 2011

An Eight Week Agenda

Death has been a theme in my life lately. No, I haven't lost anyone near and dear to me (thankfully), but a few people I know have, and that has prompted conversations one normally wouldn't have with friends and co-workers.  One of the more interesting focused on what we would do if we found out we had only eight weeks to live.

A friend and I, of course, had the standard answer of selling everything we own and doing all the things on our "bucket lists."  Once we had shared what that might include (trips to Rome and New Zealand for example), she paused for a moment and added that a friend of hers had been told he had only eight weeks to live two years ago, and all the bucket list stuff flew out the window. Instead of living it up around the world or going on daring adventures, all he wanted to do was stay at home and simply be with his loved ones. If he couldn't get the transplant he needed, he wanted to spend every waking hour enjoying his last moments on earth surrounded by people he loved, who loved him in return. This made such sense. Why go off and spend your last weeks doing things that didn't include the people you care about? Fortunately, he received the liver he needed and he's still here to enjoy life.

But this made me wonder. If I really only had only eight weeks to live, and if I were really honest with myself, what would I do? If the eight weeks was a sure thing, no transplant on the horizon, no misdiagnosis.  What would I do?

  • I'd sell everything I own, and I mean everything. My condo, the contents, my car. Everything. I won't need them in eight weeks. Why not get as much cash as I can for them while I'm here?

  • I'd use the cash to travel to each and every friend and family member who is scattered across the U.S. and Paraguay. And if anyone wanted to join me on the journey, so much the better! If they were all located in one place, I'd stay there, but they aren't, so travel I must.

  • But before I left on my sojourn, I'd round up everything I've written that was even remotely worthy of being read and every photograph I've taken that touched my soul, and I would have them printed in a book that could be distributed to those I love as part of my legacy. This is who I am...this is who I was. And I'd make darn sure that the best photo ever taken of me was included, so generations from now, someone would know what I looked like as they read my work or admired my photography.

  • And if there was any money left at the end of my adventure, I'd see if there was any way I could set up a trust for each of my nieces and nephews with strict stipulations. They would have to take a year off after high school, travel somewhere outside the U.S., volunteer their time for at least six months, not get married or have children during that year, and learn another language. If they did all that, and I'm sure I'd think of more "live it up while you're young" things for them to do, then they would get the money from the trust to do with as they pleased.

  • Finally, I'd end my journey in Texas. It wouldn't really matter where, as long as it was in my home state (but preferably not West Texas or far South Texas...maybe it does matter). I would want to breathe my last at home, hopefully with at least one or two people who loved me, who were there to hold my hand and wish me well on the next leg of my journey.

So that's what I would do if I found out today, without any doubt, that I only had eight weeks to live. What, dear reader, would you do? I'd really like to know, so e-mail me or comment on this blog.


  1. @Christy: Wow. Death. Buckets. I honestly don't have much of a bucket list. I have a few things that I'd like to try (skydiving, bungee jumping, swimming with dolphins), but nothing I'll be too bummed about at the pearly gates if I don't get it done in time.

    I do admire your optimism, though. 'Cause to do all the things you wanna do, you're gonna need a BUTTload money! :o)

  2. If you're going to dream (even if it's a scary 8 weeks only to live dream) do it big! You have to be optimistic about something. :-)

  3. @Christy..not to be a downer or anything but with this ecomony could your condo sell in 8 weeks..Yes you are just listing your bucket list and I love your post.
    Have you watched the movie "The Bucket List"? It's a good movie, kind of puts life in it's place.
    Good luck with your Bucket List...I have mine, I am doing one of mine the end of this month..

  4. @Paige, yeah I'm afraid it would take a whole lot longer than 8 weeks, and I'd never get enough to pay it off, let alone do anything on my list. Sigh. Oh well. Let's hope I don't have to sell it in 8 weeks any time soon. ;-)

    I'd love to know what you're doing on your Bucket List at the end of the month. If you'd like to share. :-)

  5. @Christy..the item list on my bucket list got postponed. I hurt my back and had to put my "item" on hold until my back gets back. I still hope to do it by the end of the end. I will give you a hint, it's to take a train ride on Amtrak. I have always wanted to do that and I to do it this year.

  6. @Paige, I'm so sorry you hurt your back and had to put your item on hold. I hope you get better soon so you can do it. I had that same thing on my list of things to do a few years ago, and got to do it with my mom. We rode it from Spokane to Seattle. Best part was having dinner in the dining car. It was just fun. Update me when you do it. I'd love to hear how you like it.