Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In the blink of an eye…

Life changes, you find yourself in a corner, that’s getting tighter, and you’re moving way to fast.

That’s exactly how I felt last night.

I had a pretty good day at work despite some system and database issues that prevented me from finishing a few items I needed to, I still felt good about my progress as I walked out the door. The ride home was pretty uneventful traffic-wise, which is always a good thing when you have a 50 mile commute!

I had anticipated digging into a project I’ve been trying (and need) to finish for a client, so I could deliver it this week. I also had some good news to discuss with my wife, and a new client to call and set up the first billable meeting with.

All in all I was rolling!

You see, on the ride home I’d called a business associate who’d taken a position with Microsoft about a year ago, and we haven’t talked much since. In the course of talking he informs me that if I’m ever “in the market” he’s pretty sure the folks at Microsoft would like to talk to me!! That might not seem like a lot to those of you not in the industry, but to a guy like me, that’s sort of like a minor league ball player getting a call from the ‘bigs’. Flattering, in and of itself, even if, nothing else ever comes of it

So, I was pretty excited, as you might imagine, as I pulled into the driveway.

One of the first things I wanted to get out of the way was the call to my new client. After a short chat with Maryan, I headed back to the office to do just that. I had to check for an answer from another client before I could make that call though.

One of the first headers to pop up was an email from my sister Kathy.

She’d sent it in the morning; to let everyone know that Mom had been rushed to the Hospital, again, early Monday morning. She’d been in severe respiratory distress along with a number of other problems.

I sat there stunned, I’d talked with Mom on Sunday afternoon. She’d mentioned that she wasn’t feeling well, but, was waiting for Monday to see her doctor as she didn’t want to go to the emergency room.

Fortunately, when I got the number for her room from Kathy a bit later in the evening, and called, she’s feeling much better and this time the doctors seem to actually have a clue on how to treat her.

After I hung up though, I found myself thinking… what would I have done differently, had I known she was this sick? Should I redouble my efforts to find a gig closer to where she lives? Why haven’t I tried to visit more often? As well as a thousand other woulda, coulda, shoulda’s….

In the final analysis, there really isn’t much I could do differently. She’d hate it if she knew I was altering my life, simply because she’s getting older. I wouldn’t be able to do much more for her than Kathy can…. My Mom is definitely her own woman, she’s going to do, what she wants to do, period.

This event did serve to remind me though, that life is too precious and far too short, for us to waste it. That the next phone call you have with someone, could well be the last one. There are no ‘do overs’ folks, we only get one chance to do the right thing for those we care about.

So while I’m relieved today that she’s feeling better, I’ve resolved to talk with Kathy this weekend and find out how to help her feel less ‘alone’ in dealing with these types of issues. She, and our youngest sibling, are the only two of us living nearby, and I know she’s left dealing with most of this on her own. I don’t know exactly how yet, but I’m going to find a way to shoulder some of that responsibility as well.

I’ll find some other things, ways, to help from here as well. When I do, I’ll share them here. One thing I’ve already done is set up a toll free number that Kathy, Mom or Andy can call 24/7 so no one has to worry about the ‘toll’ or finding a pay phone if there’s no ‘cell’ handy.

What would you do?

If you knew, that you, or someone close to you was going to die, and very soon?

Would you change the way you’re dealing with them today? Is there something in your relationship with them you’d “fix”?

Why not do it anyway, even if they’re in perfect health?

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15 comments:

Comfort Addict said...

Bill,

This reminds me so much of my mother's passing. I had spoken to her in the afternoon and was encouraged that she was getting help. Hours later, she died. I still don't feel as though I've processed it fully.

My mother and I had a complicated relationship. We didn't always seem to reach each other. I always thought that she was so frightened at some things that she didn't have time for my fear. Alternately, she may have been trying to tell me that I needed to follow a different path than she.

If I knew I were going to die, I would try to contact a couple of people who, for personal reasons, I cannot contact now and tell them that I never meant them any harm and wish them a full and happy life. If I knew that someone else were going to die, I would spend time with them and try to make them as happy as possible.

Good luck with your mother's treatment (and congrats on the compliment about Microsoft, a very underrated organization).

Dahlia said...

Hi Bill. That really got me thinking. I think it's really important to make peace with a person especially if it is a mother, father, brother, or sister. I don't think I could remain angry at anyone for that matter despite whatever has happened to scar a relationship...
I really hope your mother is doing better.

Bill said...

CA - I spoke to my Dad two days before he died, and he wasn't ill, he just passed on during the night.

I've tried to 'mend fences' over the years, and for the most part its worked out... often though it just reawakens stuff that's been packed away.

I do try though to maintain a 'no regrets' lifestyle.

As for Microsoft... well, I don't know, that even if they wante me to come on board, if I'd do well in an organization that big. Time will tell!!

Dahlia - Long time no see! Good to see you.

I've had varying experiences with remaining angry. It's impossible for me to 'stay' angry with my wife, it doesn't matter how upset I might be, in under an hour I've all but forgotten it.

I've been 'wronged' (in my mind at least) by some folks in the past, and that anger was very hard to let go of... no matter how hard I tried.

*-------------

As of yesterday, Mom was still feeling weak, but over all her voice sounded much stronger, and from what she said, she is feeling better. Thanks for all the kind words folks, I do appreciate it!

Firehawk said...

Bill,

First, I hope your mom recovers fully and has many good years ahead of her.

It's a thorny question--that of how to deal with your loved ones as it becomes that their time is limited. I think that it's important, if you can, to clear the air. If you can, you need to be honest about everything with the person, both good and bad. If both you and your loved one can finish the relationship knowing that you were fully understood, then I think there are bound to be fewer hard feelings.

Beth said...

What would you do?

If you knew, that you, or someone close to you was going to die, and very soon?

Would you change the way you’re dealing with them today? Is there something in your relationship with them you’d “fix”?

Why not do it anyway, even if they’re in perfect health?


I try to treat people two ways: as they deserve and to be left with a clean conscience. Funny thing is that the person who deserves the best treatment (my husband) doesn't get a lot of TLC from me in physical forms. I really need to kick that up a notch!

No_Newz said...

I'm sorry you are in that situation. I wish your mom well. E-mail seems like such an odd way to get this kind of news. But times are changing I suppose. For our family, you know how crappy things have been. We've been making weekend visits all of the kids to our mom's every weekend. It's a chance for everyone to see each other on a regular basis and appreciate our time together. I hope you find something that works for your family Bill.
Lois Lane

Chloe said...

Bill, I hope your mom makes a full recovery. I too live a 'no regrets' life, one that often puts people off because they know exactly where they stand with me. I probably scare them with all the love, but I'd rather love too much than sit on the sidelines while life passes me by because I was too scared to tell people how I felt.

Trevor Record said...

I think that I would be feeling sort of uncomfortable if some one I knew was going to die soon. My Grandma, actually, probably will die very soon. I don't know what to do about it at all, but I don't think there's much I need to fix!

Bill said...

Firehawk - It can be difficult sometimes to get past the 'hurt' loved ones can drop on ya... I just think it's much better to air it out and be done with it, that way there's no "wish Ida's"

Beth - It is sometimes easier to slack off on the ones that mean the most, and we see everyday... it seems, sometimes, like there will always be tmore time.

I try to live like there isn't any ore time, I'm better at it some days, than I am others.

Lois - With all you've been going through, I'm amazed you had time to stop in!! I'm glad you did though... I wish all of us kids could get together regularly, but, we're so spread out it's not really feasible.

Chloe - "I'd rather love too much than sit on the sidelines while life passes me by

Now there's a motto I can live with! I couldn't agree more. I'd rather scare someone off with love, than isolate them with indifference.

Trevor - Be happy you're comfortable, and feel like you do, in that relationship.. THere are many, many folks who can't say the same.

*------------------

Again, thank you all for your thoughts and well wishes. I talked with Mom whil I had some windshield time today and she sounds MUCH better. She was even cracking jokes, and worried about Andy and how this has effected him... Sounding a lot like her old self.

No word on her going home yet, but it certainly seems she's moving in the right direction!

Thanks again, y'all are definitely the best!

Greg said...

Bill,
You aren't "minor" league except that your game is so good that the big boyz don't want you to play...I swear (due to other folks employment at MS) that there is a direct line between meta objects and .net...just took 'em ten years to figure out what we were talkin' 'bout and they still have only a quarter of the concept...

Now is always the time to make ammends if you can...now is always the time to be alive...now is always your time, best take it and live it as best you can...'course you already know that...

Bill said...

Greg - Thanks bro... but it's been years since I was 'fab'.

.Net 2005, *might* get them another 15-20% there.. and it's coming...

It's been a stange 10-12 days my friend... a real roller coaster. Hope all is well in the Great White North!

Cristie said...

This subject has been on my mind a lot lately. Especially since my friend was killed in July. I have become obessed with the phone, My heart starts pounding whenever it rings, I look at the caller id instead of hello, I want to say Whats wrong?? I kiss my kids a 100 times before they or I walk out the door. Praying little prayers of safe keeping, over and over! Telling others that are either driving my kids places or leaving my place, to be extra careful, call when you arrive, etc.. My fear of receiving another phone call of a loved ones death is driving me insane. I am sorry your mother is sick, I hope she gets better soon. Take care.

Bill said...

Christie - I know exactly what you mean. Every time the phone rang this week, it was one of those "Is this bad news?" kind of things, and I'm not normally like that.

I hope things get better for you soon, and that you're able to get back to 'normal' as well.

I'll be posting an update on how Mom's doing tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Spirit Of Owl said...

Sorry I'm only just catching up with this Bill. Fingers crossed that you're mum is really on the road to full recovery now.

Bill said...

Spirit - No problem.. I've seen what you've been working on, so I know you've been busy!!

Thanks for the well wishes, once the doc's figure out what needs to happen next I think we'll all feel a lot better!