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I’m writing this to you from the farm in Minnesota where my husband spent his childhood. We’re here to celebrate the life of his mother, who passed away a few days ago. My parents are both still alive and thriving, but the loss of my mother-in-law has hit me hard.

Everyday someone’s parent or loved one dies. We experience it all around us and almost become immune to feeling sorrow because it’s such a normal part of life. Until it’s your parent or loved one who passes on.

Then the world as we know it stops turning. Bits of the last conversations are recalled and tucked away as treasures. There’s a big hole where once there was love and comfort.

We go through the surreal stage where this isn’t really happening. I’ll just wake up tomorrow and call her, tell her how much we love her, and bring her up to date on what’s happening in our world. She’ll be there to listen, to support us and to cheer us on. But this time, she won’t be, or at least not in the same way. There’s an ache in my heart.

It’s only when I go inside that I remember, life and death are but two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. And what is death but to return to the greater source of who we are? With the flip of a coin our physical reality changes. And, just because one can see only one side of the coin at a time, doesn’t mean the other side doesn’t exist.

It’s easiest to understand death when you first understand life. Our time here is finite and life is a precious gift.  Each day we have 86,400 seconds to use in any way we’d like. We can’t save the ones we don’t use. We can’t bank them for a rainy day. Money won’t buy more. Use them, or lose them.

When I get quiet and think of how to best use my time, this is what I hear….

Celebrate life!
Be grateful.
Tell those you love that you love them.
Focus on what matters and let go of what doesn’t.
Dream big and live life!
Play full out.
Be happy.
Play and don’t take yourself or the world so seriously.
Laugh with others and at yourself.
Follow your heart, not the voice of your fears.
Love yourself so you can love others.
Be the best friend you can be.
Share hugs.
Choose to love with all your heart.
Set high goals and take action daily.
Be generous and give back.
Be healthy and remember to breathe.
Forgive others and yourself.
Live with no regrets.
Connect to the Divine in your own way.
Go deep and know that the answers are within.
You are a part of something so much greater that will live forever.
Spread your wings and fly!

So, I’m taking some time today- some of my 86,400 seconds I’ve been given, and I’m going for a walk. I’m going to take the time to celebrate the life of this loving woman who touched my life, and I’m going to look at my own life with a renewed sense of wonder.

If I get out of the “human-ness” of the situation and listen to my own words, life is indeed a very beautiful place even when sorrow is a part of it. I’m grateful to be here to share it with you.

As time marches on, the one thing that I know for sure….
The only thing we have is time.
How will you use your 86,400 seconds today?

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Gail Lynne Goodwin is the founder of, bringing the best inspiration to the world. provides free inspiration, each day from a new Inspirational Luminary, to a global community of folks from over 150 countries. Gail has interviewed many well-known names including Sir Richard Branson, Guy Laliberte, Seth Godin, Tony Hseih, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Gerber, Marci Shimoff, Jack Canfield and hundreds more. According to Mashable, Gail was one of 2009's Top 25 Most Inspirational People on Twitter.

Prior to, Gail spent several years as manager for her recording artist daughter, Carly. As a result of the success of their co-penned song, "Baby Come Back Home", Gail accompanied her daughter to bases in the US and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where Carly performed for our troops. Gail and Carly created the 'World's Longest Letter' of love and support and delivered the 18-mile long scroll on a month-long tour of Iraq and the Persian Gulf in 2006.

Gail is excited to present her latest course, Love in 21 Days, a step-by-step guide to finding love online. Love in 21 Days is founded on a logical process that has been tested - and proven! - by not only Gail, but also by students around the world who too have found love.

Gail is a published author and a regular writer for the Huffington Post. She offers mentoring and mastermind services to clients worldwide from her home in Whitefish, Montana. Follow Gail on Twitter or Google+.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Hey Gail,

    Spending most seconds with the family in NYC for an official “staycation”. This is our 3rd and last day and we had a blast. Spending quality family time (many hugs and pics), then a relaxing hour-long drive home!


    Kyle Shannon (And Gaby, Zack & Ollie)

  2. Gail, thank you for making me cry… and smile today. Your words are confirmation of all I believe and and inspiration to live TODAY as I believe! I might have to print this out and post it on the mirror for awhile.

    300 of those seconds I want to spend honoring your sorrow, your light… and giving you a BIG *hug*


  3. Dear Gail,

    The recent death of your mother-in-law has given you a precious gift. She was loved…still is loved…and she loved. That love continues in a more subtle form.

    This love has given you the gift of “gratitude, passion and action” that your recent guest blogger identified in you as constant characteristics.

    You’re now struck by your 86,400 seconds available in each day and are even more determined to use them well. You are even more aware of “the sorrow of life’s fragility and joy at its tenderness” that underlies the truth of impermanence, so core to Buddhist way of viewing the world of life and death.

    Yes, embrace life fully. Yes, take time with the grieving process. Grieving takes time. In our rushing American lives, there is pressure to get all better and do it quickly so you can get back to normal. Yet, there are so many gifts during this process. Take time. Let our losses and griefs enrich us.

    Janet Grace Riehl, author “Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary”

  4. You are so right. All we have is this moment. You don’t know what can happen next. Each second is a treasure. May your 86,400 seconds be blessed with joy and more inner peace.

  5. Gail,

    Beautiful words of wisdom and a gentle reminder to all of us to live in the moment because it is truly the only moment that matters.

    My condolences to you and your husband

    Jane asher

  6. Dear Kyle,

    The “staycation” sounds like it’s been wonderful! What a great idea and a memorable way to spend your seconds. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Big hugs to you and yours,


  7. Dear Ria, Sheevaun and Jane,

    Thank you for your kind words and condolences. Our community is one amazing family. I’m so very grateful for your love and support.

    Thank you for being a constant reminder to me of what matters most. Family, friends and the love we share makes the world go around. Okay, that AND a few hugs. 🙂

    Much love and appreciation to you!



  8. In these moments of mourning & memory there is always the laser-like gift of clarity- your future intentions can become clear in an instant- as in your list.

    More and more, I’ve become convinced that the way I want to spend my 86,400 seconds is playfully, with jovial, frolicsome-ness in my heart and actions. There’s not enough of that silly, sweet playfullness in our heavy, burden-filled world.

    And in the midst of the loss, it’s also a cause for celebration- of WHO SHE REALLY WAS, in all of her glory- since that’s how she will live on in your hearts.

    May you be able to tune into her love always!

  9. Today, I will do what has become a very fulfilling routine –

    1. Be thankful for everything I have received in my life
    2. Remember the people who matter most in my life
    3. Be the best person I can, all day – and beyond
    4. Open myself to opportunity, wherever it comes from
    5. Dream – and take focused action to make dreams come true

    Thanks for another inspiring post, Gail.

    And my heart goes out to your mother-in-law, someone who
    inspired a post like this must have been a very special
    person. May she rest in peace.

    All success

  10. Gail, Your staycation has given me the pleasure of meeting you and hearing about your fabulous Global Hug plans.
    Remember:’Watch your thoughts,they become words.
    “Watch your words,they become actions.
    “Watch your actions,they become habits,
    “Watch your habits,they become your character.
    “Watch your character,it becomes your destiny.”

    Helen was very fortunate to have you as a daughter-in-law
    Your new friend, jim

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