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What If You Only Had One Month to Live?

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How would you fill your final days?

family on beach at sunset

Radical Mommy: British reality star and mom of two Jane Goody was recently given only four weeks to live. Not only did it break my (somewhat hardened) heart to think about a mother knowing she was dying and having to leave her children, it made me think about what I would do if I were ever to receive such devastating news.

I even offered to write a story about it.

Once I started, it was too painful. Too real. I couldn't write this, I decided.

But it kept nagging at me. If I was THAT resistant to even thinking about it, then it was something I HAD to write. Minutes after I went back to my keyboard, I ended up in tears.

I couldn't do this alone. I asked my co-workers what they would do if they found out that they had just 31 days left on this earth (as we know it). The responses were incredibly heartfelt and very moving. The thing I found most surprising is that almost every single person said they'd choose to take a trip and leave home in their dying days.

Here's what everyone had to say:

Me (mom of 4-year-old): I would take a trip to Tuscany with my husband, son, sister, her family and our dogs. I would ban all TVs, videos, computers, radios, books, etc. ... I would spend three weeks with them talking, crying and laughing, and then I would say goodbye to my sister, my nieces and my brother-in-law and spend my final days with my son and husband. I would want to be lying in bed snuggling my son when I died.

momlogic's Jen (mother of Max, a big dopey dog): I would get all my closest friends and family and rent a house in France -- drink wine, tell stories, take pictures and just enjoy everyone!

momlogic's Gillian: I would gather up all my family and closest friends in the world and take them all on a vacation. It wouldn't have to be exotic, just a big house where we could all sit around and BE. Together. I'd then kick everyone out -- except for my husband -- and make sure he knew how much I loved him and how much his presence in my life fulfilled me. Then I'd have sex for days!

momlogic's Julie (mom of two, age 5 and 8): That is so sad. I have two kids, just like Jane does. If I only had four weeks to live, I would spend every waking moment with my kids and my husband. I would write letters to my kids that they could read in the future. Maybe I would even make video messages for them. I was with my mom when she died of cancer and I know how tough this can be to say goodbye. It is so heartbreaking. I really feel for Jane and her family right now.

momlogic's Jill (mom of two, age 13 and 15): Throw away my BlackBerry, quit my job, travel to someplace beautiful and remote with my family where I would really listen to everything my children said and truly live in the moment.

momlogic's Talitha: I would travel and put everything on my credit card. I would go to some island and just hang out there, then come back, say goodbye to my family. I would write a book filled with letters to leave behind for my boyfriend, family and friends. I would try to come to terms with leaving.

momlogic's Jenny (mom of 17-month-old): OMG. This is so sad and I can't even imagine. If I had a month, I would write down as many memories of my life as I could and write my wish list for my son. I would tell him about his family through my eyes and about what kind of a person I know he will be. I'd have long conversations with my parents and thank them for everything. I would talk to my husband about the love we shared and the love I hope he'll find again. I'd take all my dear friends and family with me for a week to the Amalfi Coast -- and we'd sit on a cobblestone street and drink lots of wine and eat delicious pasta.

momlogic's Lindsey: I would gather my family and closest friends and rent a house in Mexico on the beach for a month. We would spend everyday in the sun, laughing, sharing stories, BBQing and relaxing. There is nothing more important than my family and friends -- and being by the ocean is the most relaxing thing in the world to me. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my last month on earth.

momlogic's Andrea (mom of 3-year-old): I would travel with my family to the places I've always wanted to go: Africa, Iceland and Tierra del Fuego.

momlogic's Lisa: Say sorry to the people I hurt. Really help 10 people -- do something significant that would change their lives. Take my parents to Italy. Forgive myself for all the things I did wrong. Write a small book of what I learned. Throw an amazing party for my friends and family

momlogic's Tristan: I would stop working and fly to the Cayman Islands. I would bring my family, friends and dogs and spend the rest of my days on the beach, in the hammock. I would want to be surrounded by laughter, eat and drink, walk into the ocean whenever I want and watch the sunset each night. If I could chose how to die, it would be to just drift off to sleep, in that hammock, with the people I love around me.

momlogic's Cambria: I would go to Europe immediately because I've never been. I've always wanted to go and have always put if off. Once I'm back, I'd spend the rest of my money to take my family, friends, and pets to a ranch where we could all play around 'til my final days. I would have to go Zorbing. You know, those big clear ball things people ride down hills inside of? I'd do a bunch of extreme sports I've always been afraid of, because I would have nothing to lose! Once I've done that, I'd make sure to get myself to the beach before I croak so I could die looking at the ocean.

momlogic's Vanessa: I would try and travel with my family to see/experience as much as possible with them.

What would you do if you only had a month to live?

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16 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cassandra March 4, 2009, 5:22 PM

If I had only one month to live, I would spend the first couple weeks taveling with just my husband and my two boys, seeing all the sights I’ve always wanted to see. Then I would come home and spend time with the rest of my family making sure everyone knows how important they have been in my life. I would also write and/or videotape messages for my boys for the phases of life I know will come throughout the years.

aerialla March 4, 2009, 5:26 PM

I would make a video for my family telling each of them how much I love them. I would take my husband and my two little girls ages 9 and 7 to Disney World because to me it is the happiest place in the world. I would want my daughters last days with me to be filled with fun and laughter. The very last days of my life I would take just me and my husband to Scotland and finally to England. It is my dream to be buried where my ancestors were first buried in the early 10’s in a little churchyard in Hedcorn County, Kent, England.

Mom2two March 4, 2009, 6:42 PM

Wow, a difficult article to read, in fact I couldn’t finish it. I did read the above 2 comments and agree with aerialla. The first thing that came to my mind when others were writing of Tuscany and France, was to go to Disney World. It is the happiest place on earth and we were there just over a year ago. I would want to enjoy all of that with my children again. And I would also return to the East Coast of Canada. I was born in Nova Scotia but haven’t lived near the ocean since I was 3 years old. I LOVE to be by the ocean. When I returned there last summer for the first time I felt like I was truly home.

Hip Organic Mama March 4, 2009, 7:17 PM

I can certainly understand how you did not want to write this, I did not want to read it, but when I glanced at your opening I thought it only fair to be brave and give it a chance. Some responses made me cry like forgiving oneself, spending time with the family, writing letters and video taping for the future, saying sorry to everyone, helping 10 people really change their lives, Lisa’s response was very moving. And it leads me to wonder, if we would do all that, if that is what we want, why wait to do it. Our responsibilities in life overpower our true selves and our life become so hard to change to what we really want we instead don’t even think about it.

This question is just too hard to delve into, but it has made me think of making some changes in my life now so that I can truly live. I’ve been thinking about it and my husband and I have been talking about moving and doing what our spirit calls us to do and this question pulls it all together instead of just putting it off again. Thanks for the courageous post. I think we will work toward making the changes now.

Linney March 4, 2009, 7:31 PM

I can’t even think about it, it just makes me cry. i can’t even imagine not being here to watch my little guys grow into the wonderful men i know they will be. they are so amazing and i don’t want t o miss a second of it.

littlepeapie March 4, 2009, 8:09 PM

I would say goodbye to my friends where we currently live and take my son and husband to my parent’s house in the “country”. I would spend my days there with good food, in prayer, and on the front porch with sweet tea and watching my darling husband and son play in the yard. I’d write letters to my husband, parents and son for them to have in the future—with special ones to be given to my son on special days in his life….I am with the author of this article as well, I’d want to die in my bed with my son and my husband at my sides.

NYCity Mama March 4, 2009, 10:20 PM

I would do what my mom did, gather family and loved ones around me and just talk, laugh and cry. Take pictures, make videos,

Anonymous March 4, 2009, 11:39 PM

Speak for yourselves, “they” arn’t coming for me.

Sharon March 5, 2009, 1:50 AM

I am a single mother of three beautiful, wonderful, respectful teenagers. I would spend every single minute talking to them about life and ALL the challengers that lay ahead for them. As they extremely dependant on me, as their father sufferred a stroke and therefor unable to take care of them, I would try my utmost to teach them how to take care of themselves. I would probable also write a million letters and cards for them to open at birthdays, Christmas and just notes to remind them how much I loved them and that they will always have a GUARDIAN ANGEL that will take care of them forever. Jane, you such a brave girl and I hope and pray that your last few days with your boys will be everything you hoped for. Even though we continents apart, I,m in CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, everytime I read something about you I end up in tears. GOD BLESS YOU, YOUR BOYS AND YOUR HUSBAND.

n March 5, 2009, 2:45 AM

i’ll be happy i’m going to real Heaven soon.

Linda McDermott March 5, 2009, 4:33 AM

We are all very sad to hear about Jade Goody ,she is so young. Her sons are of an very young age too.It is so hard to take it all in.My own son was diagnosed with ALL T cell leukeamia in April 2004. I have had to live for the last 5 years preparing to lose him again if I get him back.
I counsel women who have lost their children their families their everything.
We know what it is like to walk the earth with a living bereavement.
If unfortunately if we both had a month to live we probably would not travel , we have done so much of this.We would just want to be left alone to spend time as a normal family after so much intrusion.
I am writing a book , a blog and going to maybe go to prison for speaking out about the reversal of clayton ruling.
I have always lived my life like it was my last day cramming so much into my sons life too before at 7 years old he found out he had to live with cancer and without family support . Stolen by the UK secret Courts.
Children’s Rights Campaigner.

Mia March 5, 2009, 3:27 PM

I have to agree with Hip Organic Mama. Do it now. I have this habit that when one of my loved ones is getting on my nerves and I’m about to explode, I think, “What if they aren’t here tomorrow?” Helps me to take a deep breath and find a little more patience. That kind of thinking helps me to do things I never thought I could because I was too busy being scared of what might happen.

Jim Shoe May 12, 2009, 1:39 PM

I got to thinking about this story and I realized I already live each and everyday like its going to be my last. I mean I couldn’t see me doing anything different, I have no regrets about anything and I sure have had a good run, I have a beautiful daughter and wife and I know they would just fine if I ever kicked the bucket, so I would go to work each day .. albeit probably a little more half assed than usual, but other than that I would die happy if I went right now!

Jim Shoe May 12, 2009, 2:38 PM

I got to thinking about this story and I realized I already live each and everyday like its going to be my last. I mean I couldn’t see me doing anything different, I have no regrets about anything and I sure have had a good run, I have a beautiful daughter and wife and I know they would just fine if I ever kicked the bucket, so I would go to work each day .. albeit probably a little more half assed than usual, but other than that I would die happy if I went right now!

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