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Meadowlark Hospice

Dawn's Notes

Don't Lose Your Marbles- October 2015
by Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW

I was both shocked and saddened by the news I received when my husband Tom and I returned from a trip a few years ago.  Two ladies who I loved dearly had died suddenly, one of a stroke and one of pneumonia. 

In an attempt to find some closure and say good-bye, I inquired as to where the two ladies had been buried.  I found out that one was buried quite a distance away, but the other was in a fairly close-by cemetery.  I drove to the cemetery and wound my way through the narrow one-way streets until I found a freshly-mounded grave.

I stopped my car and checked the small temporary marker which confirmed it was where one of my friends was buried.  I stood and remembered her, wishing she had not left so quickly. 

The deaths of my friends were harsh reminders of how fragile and unpredictable life can be.  Since those we love can leave us quickly without warning, it is very important to let our loved ones know how much we love them while we still can.  Not long after their deaths, I received an email that I have not been able to forget.  I would like to share the essence of the email with you.

A story is told of a fifty-five-year-old man who developed a “marbles theory” to help him remember to live life well, to spend his time on the things in life that matter.  The man’s theory looked at life mathematically, equating each week of one’s life to one marble.  Assuming that an average life span is 75 years, he multiplied 75 years times 52 weeks and came up with a total of 3,900 weeks or “marbles” to spend while alive.    

At age 55, the man realized that he only had about a thousand marbles left—he had already lived over two-thirds of his life.  For a visual reminder, the man purchased a large clear jar and 1,000 marbles. Each week, on Saturday, the man took one marble out of his jar and threw it away—his reminder to cherish each week and “spend” his remaining time on things that are important.   

Using the man’s formula, I did some figuring.  I am now 73 ½ years old, so I have about 82 weeks or 82 “marbles” left if I live to 75.  Any time I have after 75 will be a bonus.  If you too are less than 75, how about doing the math for yourself?  Just take the number of years you have left until age 75 and turn them into weeks.  How many weeks, “marbles,” do you have left? 

If you are over 75, you are already blessed!  So how about purchasing some marbles and a jar?  Start your “Over-75 Jar,” your “Bonus Jar,” your “I-Am-Blessed Jar”—whatever you want to name it!  Each week place a marble in your jar and say a prayer of thanks for another week!  

Time is precious, a gift!  So deliberately think about how you want to spend your remaining time here on earth.  Who do you want to spend your time with?  Where do you want to go?  What you want to see?

Honor the memory of the one you love by how you spend your time.  Consider how you can make some of your wishes a reality and also make a difference in the lives of those around you.  And don’t forget to let those dear to you know that they are loved.  Show them your love through your words and actions.  Spend your marbles well—don’t lose your marbles!

Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
Meadowlark Hospice 709 Liberty Clay Center, Kansas
(785) 632-2225
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator