Those of us who have lost loved ones tragically and unexpectedly have something others often don’t. I’ll get to that in a minute…

I’ve been to too many funerals, watched the young die, and have lived under the threat of a potentially deadly cancer of my own. I’ve grieved for family who went far too soon, and for those whose bodies were tired from age. Whatever the reason, there have been too many in my life.

Today, I struggle with an immediate family member who is ill and in need of a miracle. It’s not COVID, but I am in crisis mode every day. It’s exhausting.

COVID has made every situation worse. My mother died last year in the hospital alone. Not COVID, but my family sat on our hands at home for a week while she was in the ICU. I had one Zoom call to see her face. All that did was show me she wasn’t coming back as I knew her. It was the end, and I was not there. She became another in a long line of family losses, and I became…numb.

Our collective current trying times and massive deaths from the viral threat against us can cause a constant state of worry—if we let it. Despite my grief and loss over a too-long list of tragedies and circumstances I cannot control, I am a person of faith, and that makes me an optimist.

Let me get to the point. Those of us who have lost loved ones tragically and unexpectedly, or suffer with illness in ourselves or as caregivers, have something in common—perspective. People like me know we are not promised tomorrow. We literally try to accomplish something every day because we know there’s no time to waste. There’s no time to be lazy or procrastinate. There’s no time to put the project on the shelf. There’s no time to put off the vacation, the remodel, the visit, the degree, the lunch, the hug, the apology, the explanation… Shall I go on? The restitution, the forgiveness, the paint job, the donation of virtually anything to charity, the email answer, the text response… People, hear me: In your life you have unanswered questions, unfinished business, and unresolved issues. You also have a mouthful of unacceptable reasons for not getting it done.

Get. It. Done.

I have a bag of jewelry from some aunts, my mom, and two grandmothers. I’m making an art project with the costume items. This is my history. This is my life. But I knew some of the pieces were valuable. There are diamonds in there and some semi-precious stones. Some pieces are high-quality gold, and some have been misidentified over the years. Some are completely worthless except for the value of my grandma putting it in my hand. So, before I got to the part about dismantling things to create something else, I had a jeweler double-check. And yes, most will be repurposed, but I also had two complete pairs of diamond earrings—along with lapis, jade, amethyst, and mother of pearl from overseas during a war. In the bottom of the bag, I found a pair of genuine sapphire and diamond earrings that truly shocked me. Who knew? Technically, it’s not all that important. I know where real value lies. But these things have been in my jewelry box for years. Using my perspective, they are now spread out on a table to share, wear, or pass along.

Find your perspective.

That family china, silver, and crystal in your attic has absolutely no earthly value in these economical times. You are wasting space and energy preserving something wrapped in newspaper that your kids do not want when you die. I promise it will go from your attic to theirs. Why? Get it out and use it. When you break it or lose a spoon in the disposal, at least it’ll go out fulfilling its purpose. It isn’t doing anything in your attic anyway. Find the necklace your grandma gave you and put it on. Wear your good clothes and expensive jewelry to the grocery store. Who cares? What are you waiting for? Why do we save things for special occasions?

Look around. Every day we’re alive is a special occasion.   

Don’t save things to use later. Use them today. Don’t wait to share with others. Share today. Don’t hesitate to say yes. Say it today.

I put two pairs of diamond earrings in little baggies this morning. I have two granddaughters. Am I going to put them on a second grader and send her to school? Probably not because I’m wise that way. But you know what? What if I did? At least they aren’t sitting in my jewelry box.

Just learn this today: We are in a time when people who shouldn’t die are dying. Our children are exceptionally vulnerable to a virus, and our country could be rocked by an outside event at any time. None of this is breaking news. The point is, we don’t know. COVID could sweep my home tomorrow. I’d probably be OK, but how do I know? My cancer could come back—or I could get hit by that proverbial bus we all talk about. So could you.

Do the thing. Whatever it is, do it.

I’m going to up my game. I’m going to finish my latest cross-stitch and write faster on my current book. I’m going to order something besides fajitas the next time I go to Pappasito’s. If COVID or cancer or that bus comes for me, it doesn’t matter. I gave it all I had.

And I’ll be the one wearing diamond and sapphire earrings while sipping sweet tea from a crystal champagne flute.