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What I Learned From Dying: Is This My Last Christmas?

Dave Taylor and Little Face.

With Christmas fast approaching I’ve been thinking about how the odds were stacked against me even being here for it.

No one ever explicitly stated that I wouldn’t be here for Christmas but they made it pretty clear that I wouldn’t be around long, and that was eight months ago. And when you consider that I was not expected to live during my hospital stay in September, I’m very blessed to be here.

All this reminds me of a similar situation many years ago when my grandmother had stopped her dialysis and was ready to go to her heavenly home. We knew that Christmas would very likely be our last with her so we tried to make the most of it.

She’d been staying in a nursing home in Owensboro but they allowed us to bring her back to her house in Lewisport so we could all celebrate.

I don’t remember what gifts I got that year but I remember the special feeling of spending purposeful, meaningful time with my beloved grandmother. I remember I sat on the floor in front of her as we looked at old photos and she told the stories behind them.

I tried my absolute best to take in every moment with her, to remember the way she spoke, the way she looked, and to try to internalize that close feeling I had with her in those moments.

That Christmas did wind up being her last.

Is this my last Christmas? I don’t know.

I do know though, that I want to celebrate it as if it’s my last. I want to purposely spend time with my family and really take in the sights and sounds and do my best to connect with those I love, in case future Christmases go on without me.

People love sayings like “live like you’re dying” or “dance like no one’s watching” but how often do we really do it? I can think of at least one person who encouraged me and felt bad about my presumed shorter life who’s no longer with us, so there’s no guarantee that those we love will be here next Christmas. Celebrate them now while you can.

Instead of worrying about presents let’s be truly present for our loved ones this Christmas.

And if this is my last one, I pray it’s a good one.

dave.hancockclarion@gmail.com

3 Comments

  1. Mill Carrico on December 23, 2021 at 9:05 am

    Beautifully written! We could all learn from this. Thanks

  2. Jeff Smith on December 25, 2021 at 8:43 am

    I hope this is just one, in many more Christmases for you Dave, but if it is your last, I hope it’s a very special Merry Christmas.
    We’re praying for your healing, but I’ve also heard that Heaven is pretty amazing, so you’re in for a great journey, either way!
    Loved all the VW memories with you and Jim, we’ll see you on the other side!

  3. Kayla Wilson on December 26, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Dave, Thank You so much for sharing your story with all of us. I admire your strength and you amaze so many people! I hope you had the BEST Christmas. 🙂

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