Monday, May 12, 2008

Six Months

Six months.

180 Days.

4,320 Hours.

259,200 Minutes.

Seems like a lot of time, doesn't it? But if you only had 6 months to live, 6 months would seem like no time at all, wouldn't it?

I was recently asked to watch the pilot of a TV show and then answer some questions regarding it. I was excited when the CD arrived in the mail and quickly opened it and sat down to watch the show. I was not however, prepared for what I saw. The show is called "Six Months" and it chronicles the life of two terminally ill people who are facing the last six months of their lives.

This is truly a reality show like no other. It gives an intimate look at what people facing the end of their lives go through. It shows the steps people take to make sure that those in their life are reminded how much they are loved once they are gone. As I sat and watched the story of two brave people- Eric who has a wife and precious three year old daughter, and Janice who has a loving husband and two young adult sons-my heart just broke for them. I cried as I watched them try to accept that their time on earth was coming to an end and that they would be leaving those they loved behind. Tears rolled down my face as I watched them try to find ways to leave tangible reminders for their loved ones.

Watching their stories took me immediately back to those last few months of my mothers life and reminded me of how she did the very same thing.

During those last few months, we cheered her on to keep fighting the cancer- constantly telling her that we knew she would be well soon. During that time my sister tried to encourage my mother to take care of things like making out a will and taking care of business decisions. My mother resisted, saying that she would do those things when she felt better. Sadly, that time never came.

After her death my sister was looking through all of my mothers papers. She did not find a will but what she did find was truly priceless. Although my mother had not had a will drawn up, she took the time to make sure that one of the most important people in her life,my daughter Madison, would always know how much her Nana loved her.

In her things we found a book. On the front of the book was a note from my mother that said simply For Madison. The title of the book was Nana, Will you Write Me from Heaven?

Looking back, I think that the only thing that kept my mother alive those past few months,was a desire to spend more time with Madison. who was her only grandchild.

During those last few months of my mothers life, she was rarely alone- as she was violently ill from chemo and couldn't even drive. How she found time to purchase this book or where it came from, we will probably never know. But what it showed me is that we will find a way to do those things that are truly important to us. So somehow my mother found a way to show Madison that she loved her more than anything by leaving something behind for her.

The book is a precious story about a grandmother and her granddaughter having a talk about the fact that one day the grandmother will die. The little girl in the story asks if her grandmother will write to her from heaven and the grandmother explains that she will- through the birds chirping in the trees, the sunrise in the morning, and the starts twinkling at night.

The story is precious but the words written by my mother are the true treasure in the book. The day that we found the book, I picked it up and tried to read the note written to Madison on the first page. I couldn't see the words due to my tears.

I've only read it a few times in the past almost six years, because it is still so hard. As I took the book out a few minutes ago and turned to the first page, I realized that my tears stain that page. I've never been able to read it without crying- including today.

Reading the words my mother wrote I can almost hear her saying them aloud. I can only imagine how difficult they were to write.

It says:

Dearest Madison,

I wish that I had the words to tell you of the joy and happiness you brought into my life. I never knew true joy until you were born. Being able to see the world through your beautiful eyes has been my greatest blessing. You have enriched my life beyond belief. As long as you remember me, in your heart, I will always be with you. You won't be able to see me but I will be watching you from Heaven. I will be part of all you do and all you are. Don't be sad- just remember the fun we had and the love we shared. That will always remain. You will always be "Nana's darling".

I love you,


My sweet mother, like those two people in the TV pilot I watched, spent her last six months not thinking of herself and her pain,but thinking of something to do to remind those around her how much they were loved.

I only pray that when my time on earth is through, that I will be as selfless and loving.

For more stories about some fabulous mothers, please go visit my sweet friend Dory who is posting stories about mothers all month long.

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