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One of my favorite adults to spend time with as a child was my grandfather. I followed him downhill to the barn, across the pasture, into the garden, inside the chicken house. He talked and I listened. One of the life lessons I learned from him is that even if you live to be 110, it’s brief.

This is becoming truer to me as I have recently reached my 60’s and remember him. What kind of footprints do I want to leave here on this Earth?

Those who are critically ill or terminally ill teach us so much about life and death. The trick is whether or not we want to listen. We must train ouselves to ‘be present’ to them, really hear them, and honor the wisdom their suffering is teaching us.

We can become so caught up in our day-to-day survival modes that we miss golden opportunities to make a difference to someone else in our path. When we stop and make the time to be still and listen to our heart, our spirit, speak to us in meditation as we seek to hear The Spirit, we find we are more aware of our purpose in being here.

It’s not all about our accumulations, for the dying teach us that we take none of them with us.

It’s not about how big our house is, but did we care for the homeless?

It’s not about how expensive the restaurant is where we make reservations, but do we care about those who are hungry?

It’s not about how perfect our lawn looks, but did we play ball with the children and grandchildren and make memories for them out there?

It’s not about how toned and beautiful our bodies look, but have we compassion for those in the nursing homes, now weak and fragile, or those in pain as broken bones mend, or those weaker from disease?

The only thing we take with us, if you will, is the Love woven into the DNA of our souls of how we have treated one another.

Have we been strong enough to forgive those who wounded us and too, to forgive ouselves for holding onto that memory or for wounding another? Shall we remember the healing comes in forgiving and releasing and moving forward?

The hope is that we do not strive to be remembered for all we donated in dollars to a well-deserved recipient and a bronze plaque in our honor nailed to a wall. But let us be remembered for how we have unselfishly, quietly, humbly, served one another AND our precious Earth.

Let us be very bold and live our authentic lives fearlessly! Don’t try to be someone else. Be You!!

Let’s not wait thinking that someday we will be better. Choose to remember how precious and dear each day’s gift to you is. Embrace your God-given talents and your dreams and live sharing your gifts with all around you!

Who will marvel at your golden footprints when you are gone? Who?

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Becki Hawkins is the author of Transitions: A Nurse's Education about Life and Death. She is also a motivational speaker and weekly columnist in seven local newspapers in her area.

Becki granduated from nursing school in 1980 and went to work on an oncology unit. She also did work on an outpatient oncology unit, Hospice, Home Health, and became a Hospice Chaplain as well. She began writing a weekly column, Beyond Statistics, in 1986 to help her process her emotions and share what she was learning from her patients. She continues to pen that article to this day.

She is retired now and is currently writing her second book with more stories of her patients and her education with them.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Bless your heart, Becki. You have so much wisdom to share. I love having you in my life even if it is long distance.
    You were so smart to recognize the wisdom your granddad had when you were just a kid! My grandma and granddad used to take us fishing and while they put worms on our hooks, they shared their wisdom without ever letting us know what they were doing.
    Lucky kiddos have great families–often just the family of God, but they’re there.
    Thank you again!

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