To the next tsunami?
To our next vacation?
To the visit from our grandchild?
To the next medical emergency?
All of the above! How much longer before we die? Yes. After sixty, more than at any other time we calculate our life expectancy and the resources we need to make it there. Yes, the thoughts creep in during a perfectly beautiful day with no pains and no worries.
Creeping you out yet?
What if today was your last day?
What would you do?
How would you prioritize your day?
My husband would drive to a great restaurant in Napa Valley, California, six hours from where we are, to enjoy his last meal. He'd forgo his diet and even order off the menu . He'll have the best wine and the richest dessert. He'll continue eating until his last hour.
I'd fret. I'd want to call my kids, tell them how much I've enjoyed having them, raising them, seeing them all grown and settled. I'll tell them to live their lives fully, to look forward to new adventures wherever and whenever these arrive, to love fully, to worry less. I would write down these last thoughts so they and their future children could retrace these days and find me here on these pages.
I have very few mementos from my parents. I have none of their letters, and cannot account how they got lost or got misplaced. We moved so much that many things got displaced. I miss those words more than anything.
We have these marvelous tools at our disposal: cameras, paper and pens, recording devices for our voices, our faces. These things will become our legacy. Our words will capture the things we talk about, the issues that kept us up at night.
Yes, I would write on my last day.
The legacy we leave behind is not our wealth, our possessions.
It is the memories we have of each other; the words and the gestures that molded our lives together.