Today is all we haveA Chapter by Devine Miss C
What would you do if there were no more tomorrow's?
Six weeks ago a client came to see me, let's call her Wendy. It was completely out of the blue. I had already done her taxes for the year, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this visit. What ever I had thought the meeting was going to be about, it was not even close to what actually happened.
Wendy came into my office with her husband and I could see they were rather upset. Intruth, they were on the edge of losing it completely. So mindful of doing or saying something that would make things worse, I asked instead, how I could help them today.
Wendy threw me a curve ball when she asked me how long it would take to wind up the business she was involved in. I was a little taken aback. I knew there were times when she and her business partner didn't quite see eye to eye, but this was unexpected. Pushing my surprise aside, we talked about what was invovled.
It was going to be a relatively straight forward process. The business wasn't complicated and the couple of issues that I had thought may have been an problem, Wendy had informed me that she had dealt with already that morning. My curiosity and concern was piqued at this point. Wendy seemed to be in a hurry to get this done.
I don't know what was said or even who said it, that brought us to the next point in the conversation. Wendy took a deep breath and told me she had been to see her doctor last night. He had said the news wasn't good. I knew that Wendy had injured her foot, but the distress that Wendy and her husband were showing, it had to be more than that. I don't remember if I offered any apologies, sympathies at the news. I could tell that they were doing all they could to hold it together, I didn't want to be the one to tip the scales.
So I told them that it wasn't going to be a problem to finish things up. We had covered the main things. Wendy and her husband said that they would get me the other things I needed after the weekend and then they thanked me for seeing them on short notice and hurried out. I sat there for awhile wondering exactly what was wrong. Part of me wanted to ask, but another part felt I had no right to pry. I was only their accountant after all.
The next day I had a call from Wendy. She apologised and said there was going to be a delay in getting the rest of the info to me. She had been to her doctor for a followup appointment and he advised that things were worse than they originally thought. I told Wendy there as no rush. We wouldn't be able to do anything before the end of the financial year anyhow so not to worry about it for now.
I didn't hear from Wendy in the next couple weeks, so I took that to mean that she was taking me at my word. There as no rush, so I didn't hassle them.
The school holidays arrived and I took the kids to Queensland for some fun in the sun and to see some friends. So for a couple of weeks, all thoughts of Wendy were forgotten.
Wendy's file was still on my credenza when I got back to the office. I looked at and thought about calling. But in the end, I didn't. There wasn't any real need, everything was in place, it was now a matter of waiting.
Wendy's husband called the office yesterday. The receptionist took his call rather than putting it straight through to me. He was too overwhelmed I think. He called to tell us the news. He called to say that Wendy had died last week. That he would be in touch later in the year for me to finalise their tax and then he was gone.
I sat at my desk stunned. I thought back to when I had seen Wendy before Christmas. We talked about a trip she and her husband were planning for the new year. She didn't seem sick then. When Wendy came to see me six weeks ago, she was obviously upset, but she didn't seem sick then either. Now just six weeks later, Wendy was gone.
Six weeks! Just six very short weeks! It wasn't enough time. There would have been barely time to grasp the idea that something was wrong and then suddenly the world is a sadder place with her gone.
There were no more tomorrows for Wendy. No more tomorrows to go travelling. No more tomorrows with her husband, her family her friends. No more tomorrows for her to sit across the desk from me as we catch each other up on the antics of the past year.
Last night was sad and yet kinda surreal for me. I watched a bit of tv, then took a book to the bathroom and read while I had a bubble bath. I didn't bother to empty the dishwasher, or even put away the ones that were clean in the drainer. I didn't even bother to wash the ones I used last night. They'd still be there to do tomorrow right?
When I woke up this morning, I forgot about Wendy for a little while. But as I got closer to work it all came back to me.
Six weeks... just six short weeks. Six weeks isn't long enough to teach my kids to drive. Six weeks isn't long enough to see my children grow into the adults they are yet to become. Six weeks isn't long enough to see my children get married, for me to become a grandmother and for me to be able to spoil my grandchildren rotten. Six weeks isn't enough time for me to see all the wonders the world has to offer. Six weeks isn't enough time for me to for me to finish all the writing I have underway, let alone all the ideas I have yet begun to write. Six weeks wouldn't even allow me to reach my 40th birthday. Six weeks isn't enough time.
If I was to look back on the last six weeks of my life as tho' they were the last I would get to have, would I be disappointed? If I'm honest, I would have to admit in some ways I am. I have done several things to be impressed with, but at the same time I think about the time that I have spent sitting on the couch watching tv. Was there something else that I could have been doing? Something more productive.... more memorable? And I would have to say yes.
Today I had to admit to myself I was wasting my life. There is so much I want to do, to achieve, to feel like I have left my mark on this world. Okay I know I don't have to be at it 24/7 and I still need to sack out on the couch sometimes, cos I do love my tv, but the world won't come to an end if I miss a show or two.
Besides, it's a well known fact, that women are excellent multi-taskers, so I have no excuse. In fact, in the two hours since I got home this evening, I have had dinner (ok so it was a tv dinner, but hey, some days you just can't be bothered), watched a couple of my shows and during all that, I have put pen to paper to share this with you. Actually - this is the second time I have written this. I was about to hit post earlier when I accidently deleted it - no saved copy :S
I wanted to put this out there. I didn't want this to go past and say I didn't learn something from it all. I wanted something to remind me to stop putting things off. So much so, I made an appointment with my doctor today for my annual checkup. I have been putting off repeatedly, telling myself I was too busy. But it was just an excuse, but Wendy was a wake up call. I don't think that there is anything wrong with me, but I what I learned from this is, you don't have to feel necessarily feel or look sick, to be sick.
When I am eventually dragged from this Earth, hopefully many, many years from now, I want to go with no regrets, no 'what-if's' or I wish I had's. Several years ago I was sent an email that sums it all up perfectly. I don't remember who it was from, or even who the quote was by, but I liked it so much that I printed it out and stuck it somewhere I could see it everyday when I was at work. I have moved offices a couple of times and it has gotten lost along the way, but I have never forgotten what it says...
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOOHOO - What a RIDE!"
That's what I want for my life.
© 2011 Devine Miss C
Anthology of Works by Cherie ter Bogt
Devine Miss C
AboutI am a mother of two who masquerades as a Chartered Accountant by day and an amatuer writer by night. I have always loved to write and vowed to one day write a book, but putting your heart and soul ou.. more..
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