What if you could find out how long you had left on this earth? Would you want to know? And, if you did find out, how would it change your priorities? What would be important to you and what would fade from your to-do lists?
Last Saturday, our cousin wasn’t given the option to decide whether he wanted to know or not. He was just told flat out that he had two weeks to live. Diagnosed with cancer only a few days earlier, he went from being seemingly healthy to terminally ill without any stops in between.
Hollywood has used this theme countless times. The main character is told that he only has a few months to live and he then drops everything to go on flamboyant trips and do outrageous and crazy things. The message of the films seems to be that he regrets the dull life he led before and feels the need to really “live”.
Frank too, was told to make a bucket list. This was his big chance to do all the things he’d ever dreamed of doing. Everyone kept telling Frank not to limit himself and to put any exotic thing on his list. After all, who wouldn’t want to be told to go out and do anything and everything they’ve ever wanted to do?
And so, when Frank told his wife that he had worked on his bucket list, she was understandably excited to hear what her darling husband had chosen to do with the short time he had left.
“I want to rent a jackhammer,” Frank said.
“I want to tear up the cement in the yard and build you a fire pit.”
He then went on to tell her that he also wanted to redo the back deck and seal it!
What kind of bucket list was this?? When his children heard what their father had said, they responded, “Dad, that is not a bucket list, that is a chore list!”
Where were his dreams of exotic vacations? Or bungee jumping? What about riding in a fancy sports car or meeting an idol? None of those things were on his list. There were only boring “chores”. But, for Frank, they were the stuff dreams were made of. A happy family who felt well-loved? Now, that’s what was worthy of being on Frank’s bucket list.
Frank spent his life showing his family how very much he loved them. Whatever his kids were interested in, Frank was interested in too. He went to games and school functions. He starred in student films and he was the first one to leap up to dance with his daughter in any and every situation (whether anyone else was dancing or not). He not only loved his wife, he treated her with respect and kindness for she was his best friend.
Bucket list? Who needs a bucket list? He had lived his bucket list every day of his life.
You can learn a lot about a person by what they choose to do in their last days. If Frank had his choice (and the health to do it) he would be yielding a jackhammer and building a fire pit his family could enjoy when he’s gone.
Since that is not possible, Frank is doing the next best thing. He is surrounding himself with his family and friends. There is a party atmosphere in his home and people drop by and bring food and soak up all the “Frank-love” they can. Because he lived his bucket list every day of his life, Frank’s house is filled with treasure; his family and his friends. He leans back in his chair, closes his eyes, and he smiles.
What is on your bucket list? What if you were given 2 weeks to live?
Ann is found blogging on allmomdoes every Wednesday. Read more of her blogs!