My To Do List

Around the year 2003 or so, I compiled a bucket list.  Instead of calling it things to do before I die, I referred to it as Things To Do Before It’s Too Late.  Because let’s face it, if it happens that I live till I’m 95, I highly doubt I will be skydiving then :).  So skydiving was checked off my “to do list” in 2003.

I accomplished quite a few things on my list in 2003, mainly because I had a renewed sense of life that year. I had conquered dialysis, was a double transplant recipient, left cancer in my dust, and was diabetes free for the first time in 20 years!  I was invincible in 2003 :).  So I went skydiving, completed the Philly marathon with my very own camera crew following me and making a documentary that aired on television that year, threw a huge party in which I invited every single person I knew, and started training for a 75 or 150 mile bike ride.  There was no stopping me!

Thirteen years later and I have that “itch” again.  Most likely because I am faced every single day with the idea of my mortality.  Being in a dialysis room, I can be sitting next to someone for months, 3 days a week, hours at a time, and the next treatment I walk in, I may hear that person died.  That has happened to me twice this go round with dialysis.

These people become your friends.  You learn a lot about someone spending that much time with them.  You become each other’s support system.  You have a deep understanding for what that person may be facing on any given day.  And POOF!  That quickly everything changes.

Kevin and I talked about our bucket lists one day.  He had traveled all over the world and seen all kinds of things.  He had eaten exotic foods that I would never think about even putting a morsel of in my mouth.  He had come face to face with a bear.  Shared a tank with a few sharks.  Ridden on the backs of a camel, an elephant, and a bull.

As he gushed about adventure after adventure and my jaw got closer and closer to the ground, I noticed a few tears well up in his eyes.  After not saying anything for a moment, he turned to me and said, “You know, Mo, life isn’t about those amazing adventures.  I wonder everyday if I have taught my kids all I can teach them, served my wife with all the love she deserves, made a real difference to someone else in this world.”

Kevin is gone now.  He’s moved on to be with the angels.  Although his chair is empty next to me, I know I have an angel sitting on my shoulder every treatment.

I came home and looked over my “to do list” today.  It’s chock full of travel plans and simple things I never learned to do when I was younger like changing a tire or whistling or juggling.  It has some big things too.  Like making someone else’s life a bit easier everyday.  Or doing something for someone anonymously that they cannot possibly repay.

Having gotten to know Kevin as well as I did, I am willing to bet he taught his children very well.  And if he treated his wife as I saw him treat everyone he crossed paths with, I’m sure his wife felt loved as well.

And Kevin, you made a real difference for me.  At a time when I feel like rough times keep piling up, it was a blessing to be reminded that the important thing is to remember to take care of each other.  Share love with everyone I meet.  My legacy is not going to be how many daring adventures I encountered or what amazing places I visited.  It’s going to be how I made people feel and sharing the gifts I have been given to make this world a better place for someone else.

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One Response to My To Do List

  1. Sally Kelly says:

    Kevin’s message is an important one. It’s people like Kevin that remind us what’s really important. What a blessing that you crossed paths with him and became friends.
    I’m with you, Mo! I’m going to share my love with others everyday and if I have the opportunity to do something fun, memorable and adventurous I’ll do that, too. I’d rather make a difference in someone else’s life.

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