Extra-Ordinary Living

The cliche “you don’t know what you’ve got till it's gone” will live on so long as we allow. Feel free to raise your hand now if you’re presented-minded all the time. Then, you’re better than I am and may be dismissed from this reflection…

Four years ago, I started planning for a funeral. The star of the show was still living and breathing and giving everything left to never leaving. But we all knew how it was about to go.

In those last few weeks, we started paying extra attention to the words we would speak, slow cool breezes, and freshly cleaned sheets. The way sun would peek through the blinds and how angry a person must be to keep them closed all the time.

How many miles we had to drive back to make it into work on time. What songs played on the radio on the rides and won’t ever be detached from the stirring of those emotions inside.

For better or worse, at least we were present in mind.

Those times were hyper-sensitized because the tics on the clock were winding down with a quality of sound so clear and explicit, only denial could miss it. When every day, hour, and minute — every second — matters, a sixth sense kicks in, and all of a sudden, your ears really listen, your fingertips feel different, and your eyes see beyond vision and get glimpses of the realms our souls live in — ordinarily.

All slight injustices are considered forgiven. All high-fives become hugs; all hugs become kisses. All words once withheld are offered up twice as heartfelt.

It took us dying to start living. It took us losing to start giving — extra.

Extra care, extra time, extra milkshakes from that place you hate but she loves, so who cares… chocolate and vanilla mixed with the extra extra whipped cream. Extra attention to the “I win” smirk of a smile a million times I’ve seen.

Whatever. Because you’d give whatever to make this grand closing better than what it seems.

I tried to plan my funeral speech, my big sister send-off and parting words to the deceased while she lay there behind me resting in peace. I tried to bring memories cleverly to recollection, fumbling through lyrics that captured her extraordinary essence. This every day life caught a life-sentence and transformed it into an extra-ordinary message…

“I am so many things; that’s why I don’t worry about what I am not.”

I am a loving mother, daughter, sister, and friend.

I am not healthy but my broken body is proof that I’ve lived.

I am not here, BUT…

I’m the reminder of what once was, the inspiration in my son.

I’m the tug in your hearts every holiday to come.

I am so many things…

When you’re here to get it, people seldom get the credit. But when they’re gone, the ordinary things they’ve done take on extra-ordinary meaning. And it has to make you wonder if all the pressures we’re under are fleeting.

Like when you’re with your kids eating, and the TV’s on… it might just take that extra second to turn it off and get connected.

Or if you and your person are both home from work but still working… it might just take that getting up a couple extra minutes earlier in the AM to make that afternoon moment the most you can make it.

And when traffic sucks, turned the radio up. Along the way, it might just take a few extra verses to flip joy from curses.

How ordinary are our days? We’re all, in so many ways, the same. But, as they say,

It’s that little extra that makes all the difference.

When I look back at a life that’s made all the difference, it wasn’t because it was ordinary. It was so many other things…

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