Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Would You Say?

Anybody who knows me well knows that I have lots of opinions. My opinions are based upon the philosophies and principles that serve as a compass to guide me on my way through life. I am always willing to enter a political discussion or debate, feel comfortable enough about my religious beliefs and my faith to discuss it and justify it whenever I am exposed to one of "those" type of conversations and well when it comes to sports and college football and basketball teams, well, my objectivity goes flying out the stinkin' window, Let's Gooooooooo.... Mountaineers, enough said. But seriously, the point is, Got Opinion, Not Afraid To Share It!!! But, From The Land of Palm Trees is not "that kind" of blog. It is by desire(mine) and design(mine as well) a lifestyles blog about easy livin' in vacation land. Here I purposely avoid politics, religion, and too a degree, college sports. I want this blog to be light and enjoyable, informative yet entertaining. Occasionally, I will write a serious piece that contemplates the deeper meaning of life, but for the most part one of the guiding principles in my life is don't take yourself so seriously so I try and trust that axiom as it applies to this work.

I suppose that with today's contribution I am potentially going down a slippery slope, but I promise, it needs to be said and tomorrow or whenever I get around to publishing my next piece, it will be back to easy livin'.

Something happens along life's path from Pampers and Pull Ups to Depends and Chux Pads that changes ones perspective on their own mortality. I am sure that it is different for everybody, you know, some random event or series of events in one's life occurs to make them start realizing that they really aren't ten foot tall and bullet-proof and that it's time to start thinking about life in terms of it being a 10K race that requires endurance and the discipline to pace yourself rather than a 100 yard-dash. The point is, at some point each one of us either will or has come to be more acutely aware that our life on earth is finite, rather than infinite. To take it one-step further, there are times when we are reminded just how fragile our own lives are and how precariously we sometimes straddle the line when it comes to our health and well being. Some of us experience sudden and unexpected accidents that place our lives in grave danger, some of us experience a more subtle and slowly developing series of declining health events that lead to a surgery or some other procedure that requires us to sign a consent form acknowledging that we could not walk away from this party. In either case, it causes one to pause and reflect, if but for a moment.

This week I experienced a recurrence of Atrial Fib, a scary sounding but as far as heart ailments go a fairly benign inconvenience. I did however have to seek the assistance of my cardiologist and he promptly scheduled me for an electro-cardioversion procedure which I had, obviously, successfully performed yesterday. Now since this was my second ride on the bull, I knew what to expect, and I knew that after a very relaxing and deep sleep compliments of the drug cocktail provided by the anesthesiologist I would wake up with a normal sinus rhythm, the feeling that a mule kicked me in the chest from the muscle contractions due to the shock and a sore tongue from biting the crap out of it at the point of electrification. And, I am happy to report that it happened just that way. But in the hours leading up to the procedure, the time spent alone thinking about not only the procedure and its potential success but also my overall health and challenges that have caused the Atrial Fib to occur, I was reminded of my own mortality. Knowing that I would be lying on a table numbed and sedated by a powerful drug and that I would undergo a procedure that basically causes my heart to stop and re-start again is, well, a little bit unnerving.

As my wife and I were leaving the house yesterday afternoon, I reminded her of some important information regarding the "business" of our life in the event that something would happen to go wrong. I gave her careful and well thought out instructions that would make things a little simpler for her to deal with "things." I provided her with numbers to call, people to consult, etc. etc. etc. As we made the drive I began to think, even though my faith allowed me to feel unafraid, I began to think, if I died today, what would I want to say about it?

First and foremost, I thought about my family and what I wanted them to know. And of course, at the top of that list were my wife, Michelle and my two sons, whom I love more than anything in this earthly world, J.D. and Noah.

I would want my sons to know how proud I am of them, of who and what they are, of the courage they have to make good choices in a world that is full of temptation and opportunities to make bad choices. I would want them to know that I am sorry for the times that I wasn't the best dad in the world and of course that I was sorry for the times that my words, actions, or punishments might have hurt them. I would say to them with full confidence, that one day, you will be a wonderful father yourself and there will be times when you are sorrowful for having to be firm and demanding with your son or daughter, but know that you are developing greatness and excellence in them that will prepare them for the world and not only their time on earth, but their everlasting life. I would say to them, I know there have been times when you have questioned, why do I try so hard to please him, my dad? I want you both to know, not only have you tried hard to please me, you ALWAYS have pleased me. I would want to say to them how sorry I am that they will have to experience young adulthood without their father, and how sorry I am that I won't get to enjoy watching you become a man, a husband, a father and even a grandfather.

To my wife, I would say, "don't worry, be strong and carry on." I would want her to know that I regretted being grumpy and mean when I was, and would want her to remember the times when it was clear to her that I loved and cherished her. I would want to tell her, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it, there are lots of people available to help you, but don't be afraid to stand up strong and proud and take a chance on your own, with God's help you can do it.

To my brother and sister, I would want to say, thank you for all that you have ever done for me. I could never imagine having a brother and sister any more perfect than either of you. I am sorry for the times that my pride and desire to not be treated like the kid brother caused me to assert myself in the face of your benevolence and protectiveness, but know that I have been driven by a force deep within, rooted in love, respect and admiration for the two of you to always try and win your acceptance and affirmations. I would also say to them, although I know I wouldn't need to, please serve as my proxy and watch over my sons and my wife. And above all, don't talk bad about me at family gatherings. Tis funny, but true.

And to the rest of the relatives, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and people who have mattered in my life, I would simply say Thank You. Thank you for being a friend when it mattered. My life has been blessed with having great people around, you were part of that blessing. Some of you are as close to my heart and I love you like family, you know who you are. To all of you I would say, celebrate me and my association with you if it is memorable, forget the bad things and times that were ugly or when I let you down. And above all, don't wait until it's too late to say the things that you need to say to those that matter.


  1. Glad to hear you are better and back on track. Words nicely put.

  2. I enjoyed your post today very much. I have written similar things in my head - never on paper (or computer). You expressed your love for your family and your life so well! I don't have words, that is why I photo my blog.

    But I must tell you that today my 19 year old grandson said goodbye to his best boyhood friend. You never can happen at any time. His friend was 20 last probably read about the Clemson student who died. So, so is still breaking my heart and I didn't know him. But I do know that my grandson loved him and is feeling that pain of loss right now. We need to always tell those that we love how we never know if you will get another chance.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

  3. Great blog Doug. Miss you my friend.


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