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What if You Only Had One Week to Live?


Some time ago, I lost a good friend unexpectedly. The loss hit me at many levels; however, what was most difficult to shake was the missed opportunity to spend a few hours on his last day with him. He had invited me to a luncheon where a famous coach and motivational speaker would be featured. I graciously declined because of a client meeting I had already scheduled. Dave attended that event, enjoyed it, and just a few hours after that event he died.

While sharing this experience with my coach, she asked: What would you have said to Dave, knowing that this was going to be the last time you would ever see him? This is a great question and created a real opportunity for reflection, but my hesitation didn’t last long because the answer lay deep within me and was quite easy to retrieve. Here it is.

I would thank him for his passion and insights, for his perseverance and authenticity, but most of all I would thank him for being a wonderful role model. Dave was a person who has experienced great physical hardship throughout most of his life, but these hardships never kept him from living. He’s suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for over 30 years. He had both knees replaced twice, and each of his hips replaced. He was recently diagnosed with a rare tissue cancer and was preparing to overcome yet another hurdle when he died. I share this with you because Dave experienced more physical pain than any of us will ever experience, and yet it did not prevent him from fully engaging in the game of life.

His insights, while tremendously valuable, were sometimes hard to hear. He could see things in you and for you that many times, you were unable to see for yourself. His True friendship was demonstrated in sharing these insights even if it was something you truly did not want to face. His gift was true authenticity; a gift not easily accepted, yet eventually always appreciated.

He had a passion for sports, religion, finance, and for life itself. I recently read a passage from the book, Thinking Clearly, by Jerry Stocking in which the author asks the reader what he or she would do if they knew they only had one week to live. The simple answer for me is that I would live like my friend Dave had lived. I would replace the urgent with the truly important and I would live today in the present moment, as if it were the last days of my life.

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