Dying Man’s Journal – appreciate every day, every one and every thing


Received a Christmas card from one of Vi’s cousins. Besides the normal greetings it has the following message.
It is so powerful. I remembered having posted sometime back but think is is worth putting up again. Especially at this time of year. Help us appreciate family time and all the blessings we have in our lives.

3900 Saturdays

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable. A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one
hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:
I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way,
I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about “a thousand marbles.” I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

“Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It’s too bad you missed your daughter’s “dance recital” he continued. “Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”

“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years. “Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire
lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I’m getting to the important part.
It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays.” “I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.”

“Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more
on the really important things in life. There’s nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.”

“Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last
marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time.. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.”

“It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band This is a 75 Year
old Man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.” “What brought this on?” she asked with a smile “Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.

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3 Responses to Dying Man’s Journal – appreciate every day, every one and every thing

  1. Laura G. says:

    Dear Bill, I just wanted to say thank you. I just came across your previous post regarding appropriate mourning period’s from a few years back.

    My 44 year old husband was diagnosed in 2004 with brain cancer. He fought long and hard for 11 years. He lost his battle on December 5th, 2015 at the age of 55.

    I was a dedicated wife and in the end, caregiver, to him the entire time. I refused to allow anyone else to care for him. No one could give him the quality of care I did. It was nearly the end of me as well.

    Six months ago I was on the verge of losing my mind I think. Watching him waste away was the hardest thing I had ever done. I had all the support I could ever need, but nothing could replace the feeling of being a partner and wife to the man I married 30 years ago. Ours was no longer a marriage, but a patient/nurse relationship. My life was consumed by his needs and wants. As well, there was no longer any intimacy, no comfort due to his declining condition.

    Then I met someone who gave me back the feeling of being alive, human, young, and a woman. Initially it started as a friendship, a support relationship. Then it turned into something more. I needed to feel again, but I eventually realized this person was not the one to lean on, even though he did make me feel alive in a sense. I ended it with him quickly.

    I did however meet another man who is so wonderful. He helped me through the last 2 months of my beloved husband’s life. He is in the medical field and offered valuable insight and advice on my husband’s progression.

    This man loves me and wants me to be with him forever, which is the one thing I could never have hoped for with the first man I found myself with.

    I do however feel guilt for moving on so soon even though my therapist and several friends and family tell me It’s OK to live again. I feel that I have been mourning the loss of my husband for 11 years, and I dealt with it for as long as I could without joining him in the grave. I will always love him, but I need love to live.

    I have two adult son’s, one of which just found out about my new love. He took it relatively well, but the other will most assuredly not. My mother, a brother, and a sister-in-law know as well and are fully supportive. I am only 52 years old, too young to live in grief any longer. I know what I want and need.

    I appreciate your post so very much. It gave me a bit more confidence that I am not a horrible person.

    Thank you

    Hello Laura and welcome to my blog. Let me start by saying you are not a horrible person, if anything I would see you as the exact opposite.
    You selflessly supported your husband through all of his time of need. Many, many times I have said I believe it is many times harder on the family. You were there through the worst imaginable conditions watching a loved one slowly waste away in such a terrible way. Helpless to do anything but tend to basic need. You may not see it but in my eyes that puts you in the Earth Angel grouping.
    Aside from that you are a human being with human needs. Companionship, human contact and intimacy are among those needs. I am happy you were able to find someone that loves you and fills those needs. You deserve to be happy. You have a chance at happiness, go for it.
    What is the right or proper time to grieve. There is no right answer to that question. Grieving is a vert personal and private thing. No two people do it in the same way nor for the same amount of time.. We deal with it within ourselves. Only you know when the time is right to move on. When you know the time is right, go for it. Live your life to the fullest.
    Bill

  2. Rosita says:

    Thank you for post this.

  3. messyhope says:

    my goodness I love this! What a blessing it is to be alive and to have no regrets when we leave this life for whatever adventure comes next. I will do better at not loosing my marbles lol

    Hello and welcome. It is a blessing to be alive. We just have to remember to appreciate that blessing

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