We’ve walked down that hallway of the nursing home countless times before but this past week apprehension seemed to walk in step with us. On Sunday we weren’t certain what we would encounter when we arrived at my mother-in-law’s room but we knew the order, “Come now”, was urgent.
Often in my writings for Money Matters and So Do Your Dreams I speak about pursuing and achieving your dreams. I fail to talk about the ideal dream. You simply can’t attach a value to a loving and respectful bond with someone. We loosely toss about the time value of money (TVM) saying its value at the present time will be worth more in the future because of its potential earning capacity. Imagine the time value of relationships. Through ups and downs, trials and tribulations, celebrations and challenges, relationships will also be worth more in the future because of their earning capacity from the support, encouragement, and love of others. Truly over the years, we can build wealth in terms of money and other assets, yet we should never underestimate the wealth we can and should build with others.
When we visit an elderly person at a care home, we will quickly notice the limited items they have in their room. Their clothing, some furniture, perhaps a television or radio are a few things they may own…but it’s all they want because their other essential requirements, such a lodging, meals and medical needs, are being met.
When we look closer, one quick glance at their bulletin board puts their life in a clearer perspective. When we see pictures of them with their family and friends we know they are loved and respected. We can’t put a price tag on these close relations.
How are you? “Okay.”
Do you want some apple juice? “Okay.”
I am leaving now. “Okay.”
“Okay” is my mother-in-law’s philosophy. A close cousin to “Okay” is “Content”. One wouldn’t think there are any similarities between the two but they speak volumes. “I’m okay with my world; I accept my circumstances.” No further explanation is required.
Over the past three years, the flexibility in my career has allowed me to spend more time with my mother-in-law. Now as we hang out in the “I-don’t-know” moment, we have no idea when her journey will end any more than we know when ours will end. The one comfort, however, is knowing we have a special bond.
In the last number of blog posts, the focus has been on preparing the right documents so when you exit this world you have all your paper work in order. But we haven’t discussed the questions: “Are your relationships in order? Have you made peace with the people you need to make peace with?”
I know people who have put their affairs in order. Because someone willingly apologized, he passed away knowing his severed friendship had been repaired. In another situation, someone chose to focus on the good qualities of the dying person rather than allow other factors to taint their value as a person. Words of appreciation were spoken while they still had the chance.
Now it's your turn. Do you have any relationships you would like to change or any damaged ones you would like to mend? You are encouraged to do so while you have the time to rid yourself of any regrets.