Friday, January 02, 2015

Time—my word for 2015

“It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.”

― George Harrison


I have had time on my mind, and so it has become my word for 2015. My goal is simply to appreciate and be mindful of the gift of time. 

I see a lot of articles about "using time efficiently" and reclaiming time spent online or how not to "waste time" but that is not where my head is. It's more the idea of being here now, like George said, and making now count. 

It has been a sad holiday for us. Our sister-in-law, Jamie, died last Sunday, ending a two-year long, hard-fought Cancer battle. She was one of our favorite people and very dear to us. The concept of time changed when she learned, a year in, that the Cancer had metastasized and could not be cured. She chose to view time as a gift rather than a sentence and said she would live every day, until the last one arrived. She went for chemo and anything that promised more time or better time, but she lived her life around it, traveling and continuing to enjoy friends, create and plan for a future, regardless of how much. We met them in Las Vegas last spring for a few days of sunshine, good fun and a lot of laughs. Jamie loved to laugh. As she grew weaker, she planned how she might die, hoping, at one point, to make it through Christmas, as she did. She was surely sad, but it seldom showed and making the end of her life meaningful was a project she took on with the same clarity of purpose that she had used to create a business and to bring people together throughout her life. 

We traveled to Montana in November to see Jamie for one last time. The disease had progressed alarmingly and none of the treatments were working at all. Still, she was up and cheerful and busy. She was completing a quilt for a show as we arrived, and days later insisted we all go to see the showing of her group's work. She needed a walker by then, but was not about to miss seeing her friends and checking to be sure the quilts were all properly hung. But much of the time we were with her she spent sitting in her favorite chair, knitting. She had gathered her " nest" of supplies—scissors, knitting, water bottle, medications, glasses, crossword puzzles, pencil, tissues, etc, around her and was comfortable and relaxed. I watched her knit. Her face was serene, her shoulders relaxed as her hands flew over the needles and a pair of socks, then mittens, materialized beneath her fingers. It seemed a way of capturing time, stitch by stitch, row by row. Still here, though with less energy.  Still creating something beautiful. Still living each moment. The last night I was there she was winding yarn into balls for a new project and the yarn had become a hopeless mess of knots and snarls. I offered to help and took one big mass of snarls as she held another and we worked out the knots and followed ins and outs and tamed the woolly beast! Ray and Roy arrived home from an errand to find the two of us wrapped in yarn and laughing heartily. When we drove away the next morning it seemed inconceivable that we were saying goodbye for the last time, but my heart knew it was true. We came home and I began to learn to knit. 

So I think about time. We, each of us, has only so much. My task this year will be to view it as a gift; to use it, enjoy it, fill it with meaning, share it and find peace. What I won't do, or at least try not to do, is squander it on things that don't matter—but I hope I remember that silence and thinking matter and connection matters and noticing matters and it's OK to hang out on FaceBook or watch TV, but maybe with intention rather than mindlessly, and like George said, the only part of the time thing that counts is right now. My little "sunrise/sunset" ornament joins my other words of the year on my studio wall to help me remember.


“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”

― Dr. Seuss

 

 

25 comments:

  1. Oh Terry, I am so sorry for you. But I think your sister-in-law would be glad she could help influence the focus for your coming year.
    Big Virtual Hugs,
    Sandy in the UK
    PS I was gifted a Wacom Tablet for Christmas so I am hoping to do some digital discoveries inspired by your digital drawings.

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  2. Terri...Thank you for this beautiful story. There are some fine quilters in the Bitterroot Valley, just south of me, and I went to that show and not until reading your post did I know that your sister-in-law was an exhibiting member. The time spent viewing that show now has a new and special memory meaning for me.
    Knitting, ah, yes, it does relax a person and make time fly by...this is the year for my daughter and granddaughter to learn..I have loved knitting since I was a wee child.
    Time...yes, yes treasured, appreciated, full of everything time...what a fantastic word for 2015. Thanks again, your story will remain with me for a very long time, if not forever. Kristin

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  3. "It's more the idea of being here now...and making now count."
    Said so perfectly. I am sorry about the loss of one of your favorite people. All we can give them is the understanding of how much we love them. I am sending you positive energy and the appreciation of time~~~~

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  4. I think your sister in law gave you a pretty good gift

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  5. I like that you have made tangible reminders of your words.... it's something I think I am going to do this month.... I am sorry for your loss.....

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  6. Very nice sentiment Terry. Makes one think. Thank you.

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  7. So very sorry for your loss.
    It seems that Jamie left a wise and wonderful gift behind for all who were touched by knowing her.
    I'm going to pick up my abandoned knitting now...

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  8. Terry---I am so sorry for the loss of your sister in law. But your post does make us more aware of using time mindfully.

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  9. great post describing your intention. I love the connection you made with Jamie, and although I waste too much time (because unlike Jaime) I can't deal with my pain well, I feel the meaning in your message. love, LeeAnna

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  10. A lovely tribute for a obviously woman. Thank you for posting.

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  11. I am also sorry for your loss but what a lovely tribute you have given to Jamie.

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  12. Thank you for the reminder Terry. Mindfulness practiced brings peace...or so they say. I am trying to practice it also. I wish you well on your journey.

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  13. I have become increasingly aware of how little time is left since turning 60. Thank you for your thoughts on the subject. I didn't know the Dr Suess quote, but it sure sums it up. Peace to you.

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  14. Anonymous1:51 PM

    This is not the first time you've brought me to the brink of tears with your profound and beautiful writing.Its why I keep your blog bookmarked. Even if I rarely comment,please know that I always read and appreciate that you share your thoughts,life and art with those of us that choose to read. I'm so sorry for your loss.Yet,it seems your sister-in-law Jamie has given you the gift of love,laughter and being in the "now". Thanks for passing it on to the rest of us. Sincerely, Julie Lussier

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  15. I am so sorry for you loss. It is important to be reminded of how to use our time wisely. The older I get, the more I try to enjoy the moment, no matter what that moment might be. xoxox

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  16. Terry,
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    Your post here gavve me pause for thought.
    Thank you.

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  17. Terry, I'm glad that you and Ray were there with Jamie in November - wish I could have visited much longer with Jamie, but as you recall it was really a house full! Everything you said about Jamie being relaxed and using her time is so true! She has had such an impact in my life, from taking a class from her in 1991, to becoming a partner in In Good Company for 17 years! Jamie was "there" for me and with me during some trials, beginning with the passing of my husband. Imagine....she wanted to give me advice about my eating habits, just 2 weeks after his passing! :) She backed off when I told her (through tears) that I'd eaten M & Ms for supper that night!
    Then when I was in a horrendous car accident and wasn't able to work for almost a year, Jamie, Susan and Sue Anne just took over for me. I had a torn retina and had to keep looking at my feet for a week and Jamie came to take care of me for that entire time. We surely have had lots of laughs, tears, joy and thankfulness for each other. So Jamie is really a part of who I am, so is with me every day. We should all be so lucky to have such a legacy! I hope you have a great 2015 - and I think we all will be more aware of time! Thank you.

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  18. Wow, I wrote a long comment, and it disappeared when I tried to log into my google account to post. Thanks Google!

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  19. A lovely tribute to your sister in law, she sounds a very special person, and thank you for your words on time, they very much resonated with me.

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  20. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I thought your post was beautiful and in fact, it brought tears to my eyes. I hope 2015 is a good year for you. I so enjoy reading your blog.

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  21. So beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  22. TIme....is so very precious. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us today!

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  23. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Thank you for posting. Jamie was a sorority sister - my time with her was important
    Veva

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  24. Anonymous9:47 AM

    So sad to hear about the road you have traveled and are traveling. We lost our daughter to breast cancer 5 years ago. I started quilting a few months before she died. For me, it continues to be a part of my therapy...cutting beautiful fabric into pieces and sewing them into something more beautiful that allows healing and scars to show...and what is more comforting than a beautiful quilt??

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