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3 Months to Live

As a baby boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

What I would do if my time was limited.

What I would do if my time was limited.

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

— C. S. Lewis

Time

This C. S. Lewis quote is such a true statement and words to live by. I have achieved things after my 60th year that I imagined could never happen for me past 30. Not true. As long as you are breathing there is time to do what you want or at least pursue that dream.

I was prompted by someone asking if I had only three months to live, how would I spend them? This is a really good question. Would I change anything from the way I am spending my time now? Would I want to do more or less?

My nieces

My nieces

No Bucket List

Actually, I have no bucket list of places I want to see or famous people I want to meet (besides Jesus), so going somewhere or doing something for me is really not what I would spend my last days and weeks pursuing. I don’t have money for travel and even if cost were no option, I still wouldn’t spend my last months going around the world.

What I would do would be to work toward spending quality time with each of the family and friends I will be leaving behind. I’m sure it would not be about what I want but about what I want them to have from me. My time is my most valuable possession and that is what I want to give freely.

There are some in my family who are mad at me for whatever reason, however, I have no grudges or bones to pick with anyone. If they like me, great. If they hate me, I’m sorry but I have no control over that. What I do have control over is how I act toward them. I want to see each and every one, hug their necks and tell them how much I love them before I run out of time. I want to ask forgiveness for wrongs I have committed while there is time to do so. Wouldn’t you?

Video recorded messages

Video recorded messages

Make Video Messages

After spending time with my loved ones, I know I would work on video messages that would express my deepest love and blessings to each of the family closest to my heart. I know the thought of not seeing my grandchildren graduate from high school or college would weigh on me. What message would I give to each of my grandchildren when they wed? Besides a hug and kiss, what would I like for them to know? These are things I would put into special videos that I could record ahead of time and leave for them to play at a later date. My love for them and my good wishes would live beyond me in the form of video messages. It is such a little thing that would take so little time and effort but could mean so much for those I love most.

My granddaughter Jassy.

My granddaughter Jassy.

Leave Something Significant

My dear artist friend passed away a couple of years ago and I will never forget his final years. He knew he had cancer and that he wanted to leave something special for each of his children and grandchildren. He fought valiantly and at one point we thought he had been victorious against the dragon but it came back. During that time, he painted a special portrait of each of the grandchildren and his children. He even painted a couple of portraits of himself and his wife to leave for them. I tear up thinking of the special gift he left them. No one could paint like him and those portraits will be cherished heirlooms for generations to come. They were beautiful and each stroke of the brush was infused with love and well wishes. It is a loving selfless gift for posterity.

That is what I would spend my last months working on. Besides my time I want my children and grandchildren to each have a special gift of my art to take with them into the years of the future where I cannot go. I know there will come a time when I will stop and they will go on without me. I want them to have a little more than my DNA to take with them.

Home Plate Collage

Home Plate Collage

Art For Posterity

After work for each of my children and grandchildren, I want to spend a little time finishing pieces of art that can be sold and left for future art lovers. The keepsakes and heirlooms, I feel sure my family will not want to sell, so there should be work that I can give them for their own use: to keep or to sell as an inheritance. I have no money to leave them, no stocks, no bonds, no real estate. But I do have my talent and what can be done with it. I can leave something that proves I did more than take up space and use up air. Whether or not it sells or ever will is not really up to me. Making it and making it with as much passion and talent as I can muster is. Once I am gone, the art will probably increase in value and that is a good thought for my family’s sake.

Publish Books

Those things previously mentioned will be enough to keep me busy for three months, but if there is time left, I do want to finish the many projects I have on the backburner. I have been working on a series of craft books called the Paper House Models books. There are 17 in the series because I created one paper model house pattern for every state in the United States, 50 in all, and divided them up into regions. There are 3 or 4 houses per book in the regions of the Northeast States, Southern States, Midwest States, and the Western States. It has been quite a project and taken years to get this far. I hope to get those all finished and self-published.

Along with those I have been working on several children’s books that are in various stages of completion. Some are so close to finished that I only have to create the cover and put it all together. Others are still in the sketching stage, where the characters are still being fleshed out. I love them all and want to complete them but if my time were really limited I would probably concentrate on the ones already so close that they can be done right away. Then I could put my mind and effort to others and who knows, I may be able to finish one or two of those also.

Light A Fire

Typically a book from beginning to end takes between a year and two to complete. If my time were truly limited, it may light a fire under me to get more done than ever before.

My published FairyTale Alphabet Book cover.

My published FairyTale Alphabet Book cover.

The Heart of the Monkey from the FairyTale Alphabet Book.

The Heart of the Monkey from the FairyTale Alphabet Book.

Your Answers

What would you do if you had only three months left to live? Would you visit places you always wanted to see? Would you learn new things? Would you see museums you always meant to visit? Would you hug those you loved even if they weren’t talking to you? Would you bury the hatchet and forgive those who have wronged you or carry the bitterness to the grave? What would you do if you knew you had only three months left to do and say what you always meant to say and do?

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on July 14, 2019:

Wow, Virginia, I totally understand. There's so much I'd like to get done too. All I can do is make goals and complete as much as I can with the time I have. It means I just don't let myself skate. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on July 14, 2019:

I would definitely panic. Right now, I figure that I easily have 10 to 20 years of work to do preserving our family stories and turning those into self-published books for posterity. Cut that back to 3 months and I just don't see how I could do it. This is my mother's legacy and I'm trying to complete her work.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 08, 2019:

Lawrence Hebb,

Your dad must have been a remarkable man. What a blessing not to have to guess what he's thinking but to know. In my family even after something comes out, no one wants to talk about it and it feels like an elephant in the room for years. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Blessings,

Denise

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on June 07, 2019:

Denise

That can be taken two ways! truth is my family were always vocal about how they felt about things, but we were always taught to 'forgive and forget'

My Dad always practiced what he preached in this department, and everyone (even non family) always respected him for it.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 07, 2019:

Lawrence Hebb,

You are absolutely a blessed man to have no problems with any family member. What a joy. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on June 06, 2019:

Denise

With family on the other side of the Earth I've said "this might be the last time" almost every time Mum has visited.

Life is short, too short for grudges, there's no one I need to 'sort things out with'

I think I'd be spending my time making sure that my family will have all the support they would need, and all I can give them.

Lawrence

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 18, 2019:

Haha, sorry about the typo Denise......much, that's much .....not mush lol.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 18, 2019:

Dora Weithers,

I appreciate that. I hope you live long but also think about what you would leave for those you love. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 18, 2019:

Thanks, John, I agree. Maybe not solid food for the mind, but something to think about anyway.

Blessings,

Denise

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 18, 2019:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this matter. Being ahead in age, you give me much to think about. "Leaving Something Significant" gets my attention.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 08, 2019:

A wonderful subject for an article and you offer mush food for thought Denise. Like you I think I would spend as much time with family members as possible, and maybe write something to each of them specifically about how I feel towards them. Thanks for writing this.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 08, 2019:

Lori Colbo,

What a delight you are. Very kind to say all those nice things. I would love to see the Holy Land too someday, but if my time was limited I think I would forgo seeing it in favor of seeing my loved ones. You are right that we are very much alike. I have a couple of grandchildren I haven't met also. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Lori Colbo from Pacific Northwest on May 08, 2019:

I loved this. We think very much alike. I do have one bucket list item which is to see the holy land. Other than that, my priority would be to spend as much time with family as I could. I have a couple of grandchildren who don't know me. I would like to get acquainted with them.

I want to tell everyone about Jesus. I do my fair share now but not enough. And I shouldn't wait until I'm on hospice.

I love art and enjoyed seeing yours. I have never had much success with it except in the area of card making. People love my hand made cards and it's a delight to make them personal for each person. Most people say they cherish them and save them. I'm glad they will have those to look back on.

I want to leave behind writing that brings hope.

Thanks for sharing Denise. You are a talented woman with a big heart.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 08, 2019:

Norah Joy,

I agree. I should have mentioned that. I guess there is one family member I was thinking of who I have tried repeatedly to reconcile with but she will not forgive me. I've done all I can many times but even if my time were limited I wouldn't hold it against her. I would still try to reach out to her and let her know I love her. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Norah Joy from New Jersey on May 08, 2019:

Denise,

Thank you for your thought provoking article. You touch on how some family members "get mad at you", which unfortunately happens in many families. It can also happen with close friends. For me, attempting to heal those wounds would be on my list of things to do.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 08, 2019:

Linda Lum,

Good point. I guess that's why I put spending quality time with my loved ones as top on my list. I know I kept mentioning children and grandchildren in my description but I also include many cousins and their children in loved family members. It becomes a very long list with all that. Who knows if I would have any time left for any of the rest after spending my time with them. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 08, 2019:

DreamerMeg,

Thanks for that. I think you are probably right but I still have that itching ambition to create, to prove myself, to fulfill my purpose for being here. I imagine that is rather a defeating thought, but I can't deny I have it. I would guess lots of people have it. But for whatever reason, I continue to create as much as I can. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 08, 2019:

Denise, I pray that as my mother and her mother had long lives (into their 90s) I will as well. But, one never knows.

Sadly I have no grandchildren so my "bucket list" would be much shorter than yours. Goals and having something to look forward to accomplishing are good. But ultimately your loved ones will, I think, treasure the memory of time spent with you than holding onto something that you spent your final moments making for them.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on May 08, 2019:

Those are very good ideas for things to do if you knew you had only 3 months left and hopefully, had the energy to carry them out. I would take issue with only one idea, that of "something that proves I did more than take up space and use up air". We are all worthy of life: we do not have to prove ourselves to anyone, not even posterity. It is a nice idea, however, to leave something for our descendants to be able to make some money and a great way of being remembered.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 07, 2019:

Mary,

That's good. Take all the people you know and love and see the places you wanted to go to. I love it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 07, 2019:

It is something to think about. Death knocks when we least expect it so it is good to live our lives thinking we only have three months left. Maybe, we will be more loving and forgiving. Personally, I want to spend the three months with people I love in a place I enjoy and live it up.