Advice – Dead or Alive?

What famous people, living or dead, would you want at your …

Who would you want to have lunch with if you had the chance to …

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who…

Which US president would you choose to have dinner with and why?

We’ve all seen them float by as memes on our Facebook feed. Before that, they were questions on personality tests. Before that, perhaps they were party games. Or simply words between friends.

These days, the questions have taken on a much more personal feel, at least for me.

Not so much is it famous people we wonder about… but people from our pasts. Our lifetimes. Family members, friends, people we’ve wronged… people we miss. Those who have gone on before us.

We have unfinished business. Regrets. Guilt. Shame.

I am no different.

Yeah, I’d like to sit with a few famous people. People like Maya Angelou, Alan Rickman,Alan Alda, and Goldie Hawn. It doesn’t hurt to have a wish list of people you’d love to run into… you know, if you’re tooling around Hollywood… or heaven.

Like so many of you, as I’ve aged… I have sadly lost too many friends and loved ones… and my focus shifts from bucket lists to memories of not so long ago… and wishing I could go back… say some things… take back others… make some different choices… right wrongs.

Though, as we all also know, words spoken cannot be retrieved and pushed back into your mouth. Even if they could, let’s be honest, you’d choke, because you’d hurry and jam them in all in at once, using your fist.

And so, through the last decade or so, when I’ve seen the memes go by… I almost always get a lump in my throat as I think of sitting down with one of my grandparents, or my cousin Gary, my friend Sharon, or Debbie, or my ex-husband and his parents… heck, even some special dogs and cats from the past. Just for a moment. Last words. A last time to say: You Mattered. Yes, YOU! I know you didn’t think you did… but you DID. You DO! I will never, ever forget you. I love you.

This morning, I was making hot cereal for myself. I was reminded of my daughter, who made hot cereal for us on one of my last visits. She stood at the stove and patiently stirred as we talked, making sure there were no lumps. I sat with her son, my grandson, feeding him. Three generations, feeding one another… with love and with nourishment.

I thought of my mother making my lunch for the flight home a few weeks ago. And how I’m nearly 60 years old, she nearly 80, and it still felt like my mommy lovingly packing my lunch. In the plane, I took out the bag with my sandwich and almost burst into tears. It was such a lovely and loving gesture. And though yes, it was a welcome reprieve from fast food, peanuts or pretzels… it could have been anything… that my mother made, for me, with her own hands.

I thought of my husband, stopping at the store a few nights ago, when this nasty bug I’m recovering from first hit, and bringing home chicken noodle soup, crackers and ginger ale… and then making it for me.

These people are alive. I can – right at this moment – make sure I have no reason to want to “fix” anything when they’re gone… or when I am on my deathbed.

There is something to be said for creating a legacy of giving and receiving… knowing it is the ultimate act of love… gratefully and gracefully. Now. NOW.

There is nothing wrong with grieving, missing and wishing someone were alive so you could spend more time with them. Obviously.

However, what I now realize is that those who are still here need us more. And we need them.

So, I’d like to sit with my daughters and son, my grandson, my parents, my sister and family, my husband, our cats, my friends… those who are here right now. While I still can.

That’s my self-help-y advice for you, too. From one alive-person to another.

I’ve created a new Category for my blog posts about Advice. I certainly don’t want to sound like I have all the answers. I am just a student here, learning with you. But I’m also an expert on my own life – and I know I’ve mentioned this before – as you are in yours. Let me know if posts like this resonate with you. I’d love to write more of them!

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