One day I received a text reply from my friend and it said, very simply, “Take care of yourself or you’re going to wake up dead.”
Wake up dead.
I laughed it off at first but then I started to reflect on those words and what it meant.
Wake up dead.
Just imagine that you wake up dead..Just like that..and all the things left behind, left unsaid,left undone….
There’s a Paulo Coelho quote that I love that says,
“One day you will wake up and there will be no more time to do any of the things you wanted to do…do them NOW!”
And yet…I’m so guilty of not doing the very thing I’m always telling others to do.
I have a long list of things I want to do and places I want to go.
I have words to write and words to say.
I have things to give and things I want to receive.
I have people that I need to spend more time with and people that I need to have a heart-to-heart talk with.
If I was to wake up dead, there would be so much left unsaid and unfinished. There would be chaos and clutter for anyone that tried to make head or tails of all my drawers and closets,my books and papers, and the way I’ve done things but…..
That’s the way I am.
However..I don’t want to wake up dead that way..I just don’t.
While I know good and well that no one is promised tomorrow and only God knows when number of our days, I know something else,too.
Life is precious. Life is beautiful. Life is meant to be lived fully, lived extravagantly and intentionally, lived with love and generosity.
Because one day, just like my friend said, we will wake up dead.
Gone to glory.
Dancing with Jesus.
Standing at the pearly gates.
And just like that, it’ll be over and done with.
With this in mind, I decided to go through my drawers, my closets, my attic. Organizing all the stuff that I’ve accumulated over my lifetime…letters and cards, drawings from my children, handwritten recipes from my beloved Mema and Mom, books I’ve highlighted and written in, journals and notebooks filled with my poems and prayers, my painful memories and my beautiful reflections, blessings and curses that comes from the living life on ragged edge.
I want to make sure that when that time comes and I wake up dead that there isn’t anyone left wondering how I felt, how much I loved, what mattered to me.
I’m going to say what I think and what I feel.
I’m going to apologize when I should. Raise Cain and Abel when I get riled up. Sprinkle kindness like confetti all over creation. I’m going to whisper “I love you” and shout it,too. Dress up fancy for no good reason. Drink chocolate milk from wine glasses and wine from plastic tumblers. I’m going to dance with strangers and those that I love. I’m going to say “YES!” when I want to and declare “NO!” when I don’t.
I’m going to make time for what matters to my body,my spirit,my mind. I’m going to make plans and not excuses. Find reasons and ways instead of obstacles and barriers.
Because one of the days I might wake up dead and I damn straight want to be sure that I lived.
I want to give people something to talk about when that day comes,too.
I want them to say things like this.
She sure did love with her whole heart.
She felt with both hands.
You never had to wonder what she thought about things. She spoke her mind with truth and grace.
She was a damn good listener even though she was half deaf.
She gave as much as she received.
She loved surprising people and getting surprises.
Lawd have mercy, she loved to dance.
She couldn’t carry a tune to save her life,but she sang anyways.
She was strong as a bull and stubborn as a mule.
She didn’t always have the best but she made the best of what she had.
She never gave up on people,no matter what.
She loved cowboy boots,faded jeans and pretty lace underwear and worn them from the day she lived till the day she died.
She was smart. She was kind. She was beautiful in her own way.
Yeah, that’s what I want people to say about me when I wake up dead.
But I also want them to say it right now while I’m living and I want to make sure I say it,too.
I don’t want to hear that someone I know and care about woke up dead and I hadn’t made time to talk to them.
I don’t want to gather at a funeral home wishing I had another chance.
I don’t want to have a long list of regrets;of cancelled invitations, turned down dates, missed opportunities, unspoken words,unwritten letters,untold stories and untaken pictures.
That’s not my style,not my desire, not my choice.
So here it goes….this year is winding down and a new one is about to begin and I’m making a list,checking it twice, kind of like Santa Claus, of all the things I want to do,all the people I want to love on and the places I want to see and the dreams I want to come true so that I can start checking them off, doing it all, living my life with passion and love, giving and receiving beautiful things.
From now on.
As long as I can.
Until the day comes.
When I wake up dead.
8 59 a.m 12.6.18