If I only had one day left to live, I would spend it relaxing with my family. I would spend some of my savings to buy a maid service to come in and clean my house so I would have a clean, dust- and mold-free place to spend my last day. I would do something special with each of my kids, sing songs together with Tamara, play a Magic game with Brenden, work on some knitting with Caitlin, play a strategy game with Liam, cuddle with Kender. I’d even venture out to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner with Jarod if he wanted. I’d watch a movie or listen to a book with Brian, cuddling with him on the couch. I’d spend this time with them, but I might also be consumed with the desire to see how much I could make in my last hours, how many things made by my hands I could leave behind.
If I only had one month left to live, I would find a way to die in Texas, warm and dry and surrounded by the desert hill country. I’d start out by having a big yard sale, snowcover be damned, hauling out every item in my house that I wasn’t going to need anymore. I’d take every dime I could raise by selling off my things and head out on one last road trip with my family. We’d wander along the road at our own pace, stopping to see whatever catches our eye. I’d teach Brenden and Tamara to drive along the way, so they could get the family back home without me. We’d stop each night as the sun went down in the nearest comfortable hotel, and we’d go swimming together and watch movies until we fell asleep, sleeping in until everybody woke up the next morning to hit the road again. We’d see the drive-through zoo, eat at Lambert’s and Chuy’s, go for a hike in the Ozarks, visit the church we got married in, take pictures in Texarkana, visit Inner Space caverns, and have a picnic on Lake Georgetown. If I could truly have my wish, I’d hike up Enchanted Rock with the last of my strength and see that vista spread out before me one last time. Maybe instead I can be around a big campfire next to a lake or a river there in the hills, listening to the crickets and smelling the cedar and mesquite around me.
If I only had one year left to live, I would be able to see that my kids were taken care of before I left. I would see Tamara and Brenden through driver’s ed legally, and make sure the girls found apprenticeships. I would get Liam and Jarod enrolled in Oak Meadow online so they could continue that with my life insurance money and stay out of the schools. I would finish training my friend Ann to handle A’Kos and ask her to help take care of Kender, so he too could continue to grow at his own pace. Our last family road trip, still funded by a fantastic home purge, would hopefully be a little bit longer, heading out toward California to see my family there one more time, yes even my dad along the way. We could spend a couple of months over the summer in our travels. When next winter comes, I would bake cookies for Christmas and share my recipe with all my friends. I would take the kids sledding after the first big snowfall and make snow angels myself, treasuring every moment even in the cold and muck.
If I only had ten years left to live, what could I accomplish? I could dedicate myself formally to Loki and Hecate, find a way to learn every scrap I could and pass it on to others before I die, to my children, in books and workshops. I could complete all my clergy studies and set up a church that might survive and be there for my children and grandchildren someday. I could see all of my children grown or nearly grown, watch them begin to pursue their interests in the world. I could teach Kender to read and write, to build and make his own things and create his own contribution to the world. I could pay off our debts and buy a piece of land with enough room to have our own bonfire, our own outdoor space. I could take so many more trips with my family, visiting so many places all over the Americas, and I wouldn’t even need to drive for all of them. I would get to see Brian open his brewery, maybe even get to move back to Texas and live there a while before the end. I would be able to learn many languages so that I could go and visit those places and understand what I see and hear; I could finally become the polylinguist I wanted to be as a child.
If I only have another forty years left to live…what will I do with them?