I’m an inveterate list-maker, so these two essays–in list form–rang near and dear to my heart:

Becky First, let me just say Patti, I cannot even fathom the fact that I would die in 37 days that I will make this completely hypothetical. You see, I’m pregnant!  I’m only two months along. Not far along enough that 36 days would be enough to save the baby growing inside of me. For that reason alone, I cannot and will not consider that I will die in the next 37 days. So the rest that follows is my goals for 37 days if I were not pregnant. (Does that already make this null and void?)

1.    Snuggle, hug and kiss my husband and child every waking second I can.
2.    Laugh laughs that make your side hurt and your eyes cry.
3.    Call those friends with whom I lost touch, no time to write, I only have 37 days.
4.    Make amends.
5.    Make more friends.
6.    Eat delicious foods and not worry about calories.
7.    Take long hikes and scenic drives,
8.    Travel to my favorite places, Sonoma, NYC, my alma mater, neighborhood pool
9.    Write letters to my little girl to be opened at every birthday until she’s 30, 60, 90?
10.    Write letters to my husband.
11.    Sleep late some days, get up early most of them and stay up late ALL of them.
12.    Go for a jog, I’m horrible at it, but I can say I did it.
13.    Unplug the TV (except for funny movies) and the computer.
14.    Fulfill at least one of my husband’s top 10 places to go before he dies.
15.    Don’t worry about making the bed, cleaning the toilet or dusting.
16.    Speak my mind without beating around the bush.  Life is too short.
17.    Take lots of pictures
18.    Go grocery shopping on day 36, that way DH won’t have to do it.
19.    Spend one day completely alone.
20.    Play board games with family.
21.    Tell my 8th grade teacher exactly what I thought of him.
22.    Dance and sing every day at least once.
23.    Make memories.
24.    Give more compliments.
25.    Relax a little more.
26.    Smile often.
27.    Sleep well.
28.    Let the cats eat Tuna daily.
29.    Drink wine and eat cheese every night.
30.    Voice my hopes and dreams and hope someone else will take them up as their own.
31.    Pray, continue going to church, knowing where I’m going when I’m gone is a wonderful comfort.
32.    Learn a new word every day.
33.    Buy lemonade at every lemonade stand I find.
34.    Plan my celebration. I’m not having a funeral.  And then have it while I’m still alive.
35.    Take bubble baths.
36.    Take my time.
37.    Leave with no regrets.

-Becky Jackson

Shortly after I received Becky’s wonderful list, another list of 37 things arrived:

Jill_porch_party_2 Dear Patti, I drafted so many essays, and eventually ended up here. I like it (I’m a list-person). So here it is – my last 37 days.

37 things I would do in my last 37 days

I would…
1.    stop turning on the TV for "just a few minutes"
2.    finally buy that St. Lorenzo icon for my kitchen (I’d need it)
3.    use up all my chocolate and bake pastry to give away to different people/places every day
4.    have lots of dinner parties and finally try out those recipes and reuse old favorites, and stay up late sitting around just talking
5.    give away all of my possessions to the people I love and the people who need love
6.    find some one or some way to pay off my debts so my family would not have to worry about them
7.    convince someone to cast my vote for me in November
8.    write a letter to the daughter I’ll never have
9.    sleep in
10.  get up early
11.  stay up late
12.  reminisce over chips and salsa and Mt. Dew at the park at midnight
13.  stop worrying about caffeine
14.  spend as much time as possible in the trees
15.  tell my high school girls that they are beautiful every time I see them
16.  ride in a combine one last time with my dad
17.  arrange presents for my nephews for every birthday until they are 18
18.  have lunch with long-lost friends
19.  hug people like I mean it
20.  tell my specialist doctor what I think of his "bedside manner"
21.  volunteer at a soup kitchen at least twice
22.  plan my life celebration (a.k.a. funeral)
23.  read my Bible
24.  take a walk every day
25.  have Birthday Margarita Night (in advance)
26.  ask my friends to write me letters
27.  have an afternoon at the salon
28.  arrange for my ashes to be placed at the churches of the Frescoes
29.  flirt with waiters, checkout boys, and anyone who might need it
30.  cancel my magazine subscriptions
31.  spend as much time as possible with my sister
32.  dance like I don’t care who sees
33.  be only as practical as necessary
34.  kiss a stranger
35.  keep the windows open
36.  send flowers to my mom and grandma
37.  Smile

Jill Bumpus

Jill wrote of the photo she sent: This is a picture from a "dinner party" a few years ago. Since it was nice weather we moved the table out onto the porch. A table that comfortably seats 4 (6 if you squeeze) held 10 people of different ages and backgrounds (with 6 kids at a card table on the other side of the porch). These are the dinner parties I would have.

I love these two lists! Two books today, one for Jill in Tennessee and one for Becky in Virginia, with my thanks.

What is on your list of 37 things to do before you die? I wonder how those things are going to get done?

Smile.