I’ll never forget the first time I heard from someone whose spouse was dying and wanted to try to patch things up before they passed away. Unfortunately, it was not the only time someone has reached out to me, with them or their estranged partner facing their final days on earth. Each of them wanted to know if it was possible to make a change — as soon as possible — so they could live with fewer regrets.
One call hit very close to home for me. It was from a wife whose husband had a terminal cancer. It was a particularly aggressive blood disease, and it had killed my best friend from college shortly after devastating my closest aunt. At the time, about 50% of those diagnosed died within three years and the other 50% lived no longer than 7 years.
Her husband was quickly losing his battle, and she was desperate to try to bring more peace and love to their relationship before he slipped away.
He made it to the marriage boot-camp that was miraculously being held that month. Fortunately, it was held just a few miles from the cancer center where he was being treated. While also able to get through many of the boot-camp presentations and exercises with her, he was not unable to stay for the whole thing. And while he lay in bed those last weeks, she would drive seven hours round-trip to do the follow-up group sessions on her own.
At the follow-up sessions, she sat alone in the group yet was not lonely. She was thinking of how what she invested in each session could bring comfort when she returned to her husband. She also kept faith that each day she learned new tools, she could immediately use them to make things a bit better. It was her hope that the actions she took today could possibly console her in the years ahead, knowing she did her best in those final days.
Yes, she was learning and putting into practice life-changing lessons that, perhaps, she’d hoped to have been able to earlier in their marriage. Yet, she was also thankful that, at least now, each hour was a new opportunity to renew their connection — for however much time they still had together.
When people contact me to learn more about marriage-help programs, they often say they’re too busy to make the commitment or don’t have enough time to work it into their schedule with what’s already on their plate. I tell them this story … and hope it makes a difference.
Every day is a new day to begin again and an opportunity to change your relationship, your life, and your beloved’s life — if you’re lucky enough to have another day.
Peace + Love,