Okay, so…first of all…this blog is not going to just be about grief and death and dying. But, you have to remember that less than 6 weeks ago I stood by the bed of the absolute love of my life as he entered eternity. So…it’s sort of coloring the things I do. I guess in a non-morbid way (if there is such), you could say I am looking at the world through death-colored glasses!
Which leads me to today’s post. I’ll bet I did something on Friday that few of you out there have done. I purchased my own tombstone. Of course it was called something much more politically correct -bronze marker I think was the actual term. The definition of tombstone, though, is “a marker placed at the head of a grave,” so I’m staying with tombstone.
Anyway, of course I had to purchase this for Keith’s grave, and since I will be buried at the same place, the thing to do was to go ahead and put my name on it. This has been in the works for some time, but on Friday I received the email “mock up” of it. There it was…my name with my birth date, a dash, and then a blank. Keith’s was filled in with the appropriate dates.
I’ve thought about that a lot over the weekend. I understand that I am living in the dash now. I wonder how it would be if I already knew the date that will one day be etched on that marker. God in His graciousness doesn’t give us that info. What if it said next week? What would I do? Or…what if it said 30 years from now? Would I then sit back comforted by the knowledge that I had lots of time, and do nothing?
Keith found out in March that more than likely his cancer was terminal. However at the time we were told that he probably had two years. During that time there were a couple of versions of songs that were popular entitled, “Live Like You Were Dying.” Of course this called for a good bit of introspection and lively conversation between Keith and I. Here’s the interesting thing. Keith didn’t want to do anything differently, even with the knowledge that he was dying. And the only thing on his “bucket list” that he didn’t get to do was to go to another Alabama football game with dinner at Dreamland Ribs. Something tells me that if God doesn’t have him too busy doing eternal things, Keith will be watching from the 50 yard line this season! The point is that even before he found out that he was dying, he was living in such a way that he could leave at any time with no regrets.
He was also comfortable with the idea of death. After we found out that he only had a few weeks to live, I asked him, “Are you scared?” He said, “No, I am not afraid of death. But I am a little nervous about the process of moving from here to there.” I wonder everyday what he is seeing and what he is doing. Whatever it is, I know that there is no way that my earthly brain could comprehend it, so I’ll just wait…until it’s time for that date to be etched on my tombstone.
So, for today, don’t live like you are dying. Living like you are dying implies that you should be doing things to satisfy selfish ambitions. Here’s the thing…you are dying. (I know…leave it to me to point out something really cheery on a Monday morning!) Death is not optional. There are, however, lots of things to be done during the “dash” time – the time between the birth and death dates.
Your legacy will be in the people and lives that you touch. Not in the tombstone.
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
Ephesians 5:1-2; 15-16
Blessings, my friends!
Reading your post made me wonder why they changed the church wide study we are starting in September. It seems like it would be more than appropriate for all of us. Thanks for sharing your life.
Joyce Tucker said:
Another awesome post! WOW Thank you for investing in us. Love you.
Taylor Stamey said:
WOW!!!!!!!! What another wonderful post. Thank you for sharing this with us LeeAnn.
Lauren Redington said:
Taylor and I are here for you at any minute. We really appreciate all the time that you take to share these heart warming messages. Thank you, thank you, thank you :)!!
Lauren Redington said:
I am speechless LeeAnn…you so so talented and most important the love of our merciful God just shines through you :). I love you, Keith and family so very much. You bring me joy by reading these love-filled posts….praying for you, sweet LeeAnn.
You continously amaze me! Your talent, your insight, your wisdom! I’ve already emailed a bunch of my friends letting them know they need to follow your blog & to pass it along to any one they know who’s grieving.
Larry beane said:
I love the new blog Lee Ann. Keep up the Great work. Hope to see you soon..
Lee Ann – Thank you for the reminder of how we should live our lives today. You truly have the words to encourage others. Thank you for blessing me.
You are an amazing woman. I love you.
Diana Burnside said:
LeeAnn I am so in awe of you and your totally brilliant mind. TY Love you, Diana
Jean McIntyre said:
Well LeeAnn, Glenn & I have designed and working on the final look of our tombstone. It is very strange looking at your own name on your tombstone. Thank you for loving all of us enough to share your walk and wisdom.
I surely appreciate the levity and yet, proper perspective of your circumstances. Straight-forward … that’s how I like it. I’m glad you have jumped into the world of blogging. I’ve been a blogger for years, and whether my thoughts/rantings are ever read or not, it’s therapy for me. Keep sharing, my friend. I’m reading!
Love to you and your family. Congrats on the new folks coming in. What a great blessing … all the way around!
Janet Barron said:
You don’t know me but my daughter-in-law started me reading your blog during the last few months of Keith’s earthly life. She also sent me this web-site today and I feel the need to let you know that you have been on my heart and in my prayers for the past several months. I, too, have a wonderful husband who has been the love of my life for almost as long as I have been on this earth who is dealing with this monster disease of cancer. He was diagnosed over seven years ago and each time we think he has beat it – it comes back. Your blogs have truely been a blessing to me.
Thank you. God bless you.