This past week my 91 year old mother passed away. It struck me how much life is like the old coin pusher game!
You know, the one you find in video arcades or old casinos. The one where you drop a coin in the slot in hopes of pushing a few coins over the edge. The way it works: Each time a coin is added to the back of the shelf all the coins shift just a wee bit forward. The tipping point comes every once in a while when one, maybe two, or even more coins drop off the edge.
Well, my coin moved closer to the edge this past week. My coin feels like its next in line to topple off this shelf called life. Like the coin pusher game you never know when it’s going to happen.
We were up in Lusaka, Zambia on the road to meet Gerry and Richard in Kasanka Game Reserve. This reserve is famous for the fruit bats that come to visit every year during their migration. The day before leaving we got word that my mother wasn’t well. She’d been in remarkably good health when we left her a few weeks back (in South Africa.) But at 91 things can change rapidly.
It was best we make the journey back. My sister from Australia was also on her way. Russ and I were shocked when we arrived. She looked horrible, but still feisty. My sister and family could only stay a week. She held on. The day they left she said, “I’ve said all my goodbyes. Now I can die.” The next morning we found her sitting in her chair rather putout that she was still alive. Her coin was still on the shelf.
For another three weeks she lingered. Then finally her wish was granted. The right coin dropped and hers fell gently off the shelf… right after her morning bathing. Nothing like being fully prepared to meet your Maker!
Every time we said ‘Goodbye’ to her over the past few years we knew it could be the last. However, when it finally came, that ‘next inline’ feeling (like the coin pusher game) was unexpected.
What comes with this reality? For me it raises the following questions: At 66 how do I make the best of the remaining time I have? What is most important? What would I regret most if my turn to fall off the shelf came sooner rather than later?
Well? It is all too fresh for any definitive answers… yet.