The other night, Chris sent me a Facebook message.
It was only 9:38 but I wasn’t. I had turned off the light only a few minutes before.
I pinged him back the next morning.
Long story short, he wanted to talk about him mom Nancy who’s very sick. I knew she was dealing with some kind of chronic issue that wasn’t likely to get better, but I didn’t recall what it was (and still don’t, except that it’s something to do with muscular degeneration). He didn’t expect she’d live a lot longer.
One second, I’m in high school and at his house and Nancy is making us food then I’m out of high school and half way across the country with a job then I’m getting married and Chris is there then there’s babies and the babies become little people and then actual people and your parents start to get sick and sometimes they die.
And it becomes really obvious: You are going to die, too.
And fuck, but why didn’t you think of that? During the all that time between the seconds you can remember when nothing much of interest was going on and you could have been doing something more…more.
And, like, I’m 46. More than halfway gone. I don’t regret. Life’s not that bad, after all. Things are pretty good. But I want more time. Now that more’s behind than ahead, I want all that time back. Not to change a thing. Not to reset my life. I’m lucky that way. I’m OK with where things are. But I want back my time.
Chris spent an afternoon with Nancy in August. She was aware and present and he feels closure. That’s important. When my dad got sick, I went out for the surgery but he was pretty out of it. I left very early and spent a few minutes in his hospital room and told him goodbye in that way you say goodbye when you leave for the day, not forever. I didn’t tell him I loved him. He was right there and I didn’t say it. I thought it, but the words didn’t come out. I figured, there’s still time.
Then I talked to him on the phone maybe a week or so later. He had some hope. There was a program. He sounded optimistic. Still didn’t say it. There’s still time.
Then I was travelling and got a call from his wife. No more time. Come now. By the time I got there, it was all over.
That closure’s important. Because the door’s one-way. There’s no making up for it after the fact.
I’m glad Chris had that afternoon. Glad for both him and Nancy.
Originally published on Medium.