How much time in every day do we really live?

How much of every day do we really live?photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/eliazar/407591133/">eliazar</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
Will there come a time when we regret,
the moments, minutes, hours or days,
that we wasted in our lives?

As a nurse, I became very aware,
that time is precious.
When I was working in accident and emergency,
I would drive to work,
knowing that in some homes,
the day ahead would change their world.
For some that morning would be their last.
For others life would never be the same again.

When I first walked out onto a ward,
and saw people of all ages,
with life threatening conditions,
I feared illness.
My friends and I would talk together.
We would hope,
that when our time ran out,
that it would do so in a sudden unannounced bang!

Then illness came knocking on my door.
My 52 year old Dad was diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease.
No treatment, no cure.
His life would definitely not be long.
We were not even given hope.
Maybe a year or two if we were lucky,
but he would eventually have no quality of life.

As we looked down that road,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lookingthroughtheglass/5722307977/">LookingThroughTheGlass</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-
everything changed.
The endless days, months and years ahead did not exist.
Our future was to be very short.
For us in that moment time changed.

You would think that with time limited,
we would feel each day fly by,
and the end of life to be rushing towards us,
at a frightening speed.
However strangely that did not happen.
The opposite occurred.
Time slowed down.

There was still 60 seconds in every minute,
and each day lasted 24 hours.
However for all of us in our family,
the clock ticked louder.
We had no minutes to waste.
Time became precious,
and something we did not take for granted.
Each day now was made up of exactly 24 hours,
with not one second wasted.

For my Dad I cannot say what it meant,
to know he would not be staying long.
But I do know he had no bucket list.
My Dad lived on.
Just as he always did.
Working for a few more months,
until his health forced him to retire.
Enjoying his days as best he could,
and continuing to be a large presence in our lives,
even when movement and speech were gone.

It was during this time that my attitude to illness changed.
As I spoke at length to my Dad,
sharing my everyday life with him,
in a way a twenty year old never would do,
with a parent,
I came to realize,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiddleoak/6827397725/">fiddle oak</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
that to be given this knowledge,
that time was limited,
and every day precious,
was in fact a privilege.
By being told as a family,
that for us our time with Dad was to be short,
we were in fact being given time.

Instead of a father at work,
and a family living busy lives,
we were a family living every moment.
There was no time wasted.
Every second counted.
Right up until the moment,
that time ran out.

In those bleak days, months and weeks,
after my Dads clock stopped,
time changed once more.
Each day was still made up of 24 hours,
yet each day seemed endless,
and the future which was short before Dad died,
now seemed too long.

Since then the days have turned into years.
The clock has continued to tick.
I have married and had children.
As time has passed I have lived through,
what seemed like the never ending long days,
of sleepless nights and crying children.

Now time has changed once more.
It is once again racing by.
My small babies are distant memories.
In a few weeks another of my brood will leave home.
I cannot slow time down.
Each day is 24 hours,
yet some days are just too short.

The clock that has ticked all my life,
continues unabated.
I do not know for how long it will tick,
but for today and everyday,
I appreciate my twenty four hours in every day,
and I try to make every minute count.
Each night as I turn out the light,
I smile, grateful for the day I had,
and know I am lucky to have a tomorrow to look forward to.

photo credit: eliazar via photopin cc
photo credit: LookingThroughTheGlass via photopin <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-
photo credit: fiddle oak via photopin cc

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51 thoughts on “How much time in every day do we really live?

    1. Thank you so much. I think after holidays and family time you have a better perspective on what is important in life, away from the busy everyday.

    1. Thank you. Our past has a major effect on our future. I am inclined to try to use it to enhance what ever that future may be in a positive way.

  1. Lovely. And thanks again for sharing some of your perspective with me as I am still in the busy little one phase. And also using my past. In the healing method I am studying they call this driving backwards..turning around and driving backwards into the future..looking at the past.
    β™‘L

  2. This brought me to tears; I had a similar experience with my own Dad, but it was only two months from final diagnosis to death. Those were such precious times! What a gift…..

  3. wonderful and really puts things in perspective. even though we sometimes don’t take the time to think about it, it’s so good to practice a bit of self-reflection on a regular basis to re-evaluate priorities )

  4. Oh how I needed to read this post today, thank you. I have learned the hard way that life is precious, losing so many people close to me. But I think the thing that brought home to me, hard, how precious life is, was when I had a car accident. It changed my whole outlook on everything and made me realise that I was being kept on earth for a purpose. I still don’t know what that purpose is, but there has to be one so I have faith in that. I thought back to my life before the accident and realised that I wasn’t a very nice person, very selfish and self-serving. People I didn’t know (and still don’t) helped me in my hour of need. They didn’t have to do that, they could’ve just left me there… But they didn’t. And in those few short hours of that day I decided to change my ways. I’ve been very happy with that decision and continue to believe in human nature, even when people do wrong by me. Thanks again for your post, beautiful! πŸ™‚

    1. I am glad it struck a chord with you. Life has a habit of teaching us lessons. I look at and listen to my children who think the know all the answers and in my head I laugh. Some day they too will learn.

  5. Great post! I was watching a show lat night, and one character said..”if there was no death, we would never appreciate life”…. I just thought it was an interesting concept.

  6. I’ve tried several times to gather my thoughts and leave a comment but the subject matter is too close to home, tric

    it’s a gem of a post, though – one of your best ever !!!

    1. Thanks a million Duncan. I did think of you and others when I wrote this. The posts you shared with me of when your wife was very sick, and after, let me know for sure we had traveled that road in the same way, using humor to ease our path. It was a journey I would never have missed even though I would never have chosen it in an ideal world.
      I don’t know what made me write it, but I’m glad you “enjoyed” it, for want of a better word.

  7. “that to be given this knowledge,
    that time was limited,
    and every day precious,
    was in fact a privilege.”
    Would that we could all live our livee accordingly from the moment we are old enough to comprehend that our time is limited and every day a privilege. Even for those of us who have experienced and know this fact, it can be a challenge to live dally with it in mind.
    Lovely piece of writing.

    1. Thank you. I have many friends who have not yet been really touched by grief. Until you are I do not think it is possible to know how precious moments are.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.

    1. Yes and equally I am aware that although my Dads time was limited at least we knew. My best friends Dad died suddenly three weeks before my Dad and she was so bitter and cross that she had no time with him like we did.
      Live each day as if it’s your last is my motto. My husband sees that as very negative but I view it the complete opposite.

  8. What a powerful piece, Tric. It ought to be published in a book or magazine, and accessible to all.

    This brought back vivid memories of my mom’s passing eight years ago. Unfortunately, at that time we weren’t aware that the sand was nearly through her hourglass. Our last month was spent, instead, running to and from the hospital, trying to care for my kids, and to keep her pain level and hydration levels stable at the same time, unaware that time was running out.

    It wasn’t supposed to be like that. 😦

    All my life I’ve been a time-watcher. The ding of the microwave a reminder that another couple minutes have passed that can’t be recouped – and wondering why I wasted it watching the timer count down!

    God gives lots of promises – tomorrow isn’t one of them. Thanks for that reminder.

    \o/

    1. Thank you for your praise. I am so sorry about your mum. As you say it is not supposed to be like that.
      For us too even though we knew my Dad was sinking fast I missed his death. Imagine a nurse not realizing he was nearly gone! My mum was with him but no one else. I have had quite a number of friends lose family since and we have nursed them at home, it is a mistake I thankfully ensure never happens in their house. However we had so many wonderful times during his dying I have never dwelt too much on missing his death.
      My friend echoed your thoughts earlier this week when she said her Dad used to always say, “Forget about tomorrow because it never comes”. I like that, we only have today.

      1. Someone else said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”

        My husband’s father is on his way out. We got back from visiting him at 4 a.m. He will be leaving us this weekend. 😦

        Have a blessed weekend! Thanks again for your wonderful post. I’m reblogging it on Sunday, if you don’t mind.

        \o/

        1. Oh I am so sorry to hear that. My thoughts are with you and your husband and his family.
          I would be delighted for you to reblog my post. Thank you.

  9. Hi tric, I wonder if you remember me… I so love this post because it hit me to the center of my soul. My dad passed when I was a teenager (alcoholism, followed my a bullet to his brain housing, self incflicted) when i needed him the most, I believe…even though the clock kept ticking, for some effing reason, it stop for me that day…and i keep reliving those days…Your post did give me a bit off hope though…but that moment, I feel has branded me….another note..I missed ya

    1. Oh Mocha, lovely to hear from you. I am glad you “enjoyed” this post. I know you are going through so much, and as someone who also had a very bumpy journey I have no doubt that you can get there. And when you do life is sweeter than ever. I hope you’re okay. Life is precious though Mocha, try not to waste too much of it, as the small view of you I got tells me you have so much life in you and so much love to give. xx

  10. Hi Tric,
    I’m glad you linked this post on my “here and now” post…thank you for sharing. I’m sorry about your Dad’s passing, it brought tears, which are still with me. It’s weird because I’m 52 and my husband is 53 and our kids are 18 & 21, so it’s just surreal, with the ages being similar. I guess sometimes we need something tragic to happen to really enjoy the 24 hours in each day, don’t we? The details to my post weren’t publicized, but I will share some with you, if you don’t mind..
    last fall, our daughter (21) was diagnosed with a rare and could be fatal bile duct/liver disease. It was shocking to begin with, but mostly because she didn’t do anything to provoke it. She doesn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, nothing. It’s like your Dad getting ill or people who get cancer, it just appears. Anyway, she’s had pain and other symptoms very uncomfortable and to see “your child” go through this is beyond painful.
    My husband and I could almost feel pain ourselves. Anyway, I’ll leave out all the in-between, but two months ago, there was a chance of a misdiagnosis. Now, that’s gone and we’re back to the beginning, although, the doctors really can’t diagnose it because some symptoms don’t jive, which is a good thing. Now she’s back on her meds and she feels fine, but when she’s off, her liver enzymes are highly escalated. It’s just so rare there are no clear cut answers.
    So, we’re living in the here and now, trying not to worry, but would like to have some clear idea of what we’re dealing with. The first diagnosis means that within the next 5-10 years, she’ll need a liver transplant to survive. There is no cause and no other cure. You just have to wait for the symptoms to get worse, be at about 6 months to live to be considered for a transplant, etc. Well, it’s daunting, but I can understand to a point what you went through with your Dad. Again, Tric, I am so sorry…there are no words. I’m also sorry for writing so much. I can relate though, because she is leaving for college next month, moving into a university as a junior transfer. That’s the good news, so we hope all will be fine. Well, I should close and I thank you for listening and send you many hugs for all you’ve endured and for your other child leaving the nest soon. xoxo
    Lauren

    1. Oh wow, that is one hell of a curved ball. You may have read my posts about my friends little boy who was diagnosed with leukemia at Christmas. That hit so hard so I do have some small measure of understanding what a parent feels when a child of theirs is diagnosed with something life threatening.
      He is currently in hospital following a bone marrow transplant. I went onto wordpress and managed to contact a few bloggers who had made good recoveries. Two in particular gave the same very sound advice which I passed onto my friend. They said “never look past today, because you will always get through today”.
      I do hope you eventually get a definitive diagnosis and that with medication and research your daughter continues to live a great life.
      We really are in similar times in our life with our childrens ages. Even with illness there is no holding them back!
      Thanks a million for sharing. I really hope all goes well for a long long time to come, and by then who knows what will be available.

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