I remember back when I got that news. Some of you know how that feels. ” Mr. Terrill, I am so sorry to have to tell you…..” It’s the worst thing you can hear. Literally. The ABSOLUTE worst! But then you get thinking about it after you get over the shock. It’s Human Instinct I think to try to look at the bright side. With something like this, I think it is your survival instinct kicking in, otherwise it would be raining terminally ill suicide victims from the skies.
I can remember sitting the Kids down. Again, another absolutely, horribly hard thing to do. Jenn and I had that look on our faces that I know gave it away before we tried to ” gently hand them the news.” To this day I don’t know who I was kidding. How can you gently smack someone upside the head with a sledgehammer? Because that is exactly what it was like. To us! I still can’t fathom being in their shoes. But I did try to show them the bright side, if there was one. I tried telling them that ” everyone dies. We all get older, deal with issues and then move on. ” It is the circle of life. Our Parents raise us, we have time to sow our wild oats, then we raise our Kids and then they bury us and continue on. It sounds cruel, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
I told the kids that the bright side for us was that we had an idea of how much time we had. Some aren’t that lucky. It’s up in the morning, kiss the Wife and Kids while grabbing for that piece of toast and cup of coffee and out the door to work. Crossing the street that ill-fated bus comes by and that’s it. Or you feel your heart thump and then never ever feel again. At least we have an idea. That was truly what I believed. That we were special. Looking back. The only thing I was, was full of crap!
The problem with Expiration Dates is that, after a while they begin to rule your world. Everything becomes about that. About running your butt off to do this, to say that before it’s ” times up.” Every conversation becomes about ” when the time comes.” Even your attitude and your mood swings are effected. Either it’s ” Here I am dying, and so and so is treating me like…..” or it’s ” everyone is pitying me, treating me like……” There is just no winning. You find yourself not making plans. Even worse, your entire Family, especially the Kids are no longer planning. You then proceed to make this two-sided also. On one hand you are horrified that your Family is no longer looking to the future. But on the other hand, it begins to look like everyone is off on the sidelines, just waiting for you to die so they can start to live again.
Those Annoying expiration dates. Remember looking in the fridge and seeing that gallon of milk about to expire? What do you do? You drink it quick. Quicker than normal so you can get your money’s worth and not waste it. Right? Same thing with living with an expiration date. Everything has to be done now. You drive everyone nuts with the ” I Love You’s”, you drive others nuts with ” trying to get right with the Lord.” Now I am in no way saying that coming to terms and coming to Jesus is a bad thing. Absolutely not. Better late than never, never had a more profound meaning than that. But here’s my issue. All these things? All these little and larger things that an ” expiration ” date drives us to do? Why the hell weren’t we doing it all along ? Of course this is hard. Of course this is excruciating. Knowing we are at our end drives us to do crazy, impulsive things. It also stops us from doing other things also. But think about it. It just might not be so bad or so tragic if we were doing them all along. The Kids and Spouse need to be treated like it’s your last day, Every Day! That bucket list shouldn’t be an end of life list. It should be a ” every day I’m alive ” list. And more importantly, God doesn’t magically appear when you are given an end of life expectation. He’s been there the entire time. You just have to open your eyes and open your heart. Those of you reading this that haven’t experienced what Myself and others have, an expiration date. Here’s something to think about. You have one. You just don’t know it yet…….