Stories From Paradise

Five Minutes More


I sat in the garden at dawn with that first coffee of the day, steam rolling into the air, hands wrapped around a white porcelain coffee mug, nose inhaling the gentle aroma and my lovely dog Uma rubbing her head against my thigh. I looked down at her and said, “I have just 5 minutes to be here with you”.

Suddenly, I thought, what if I could have 5 minutes more with someone who had already left the world, my Dad, my friend Loree, my friend Gina, a few other people who died way too soon one of those springtimes ago. I sipped my coffee and let my mind wander – what if I had 5 minutes more?

I wouldn’t talk, discuss politics or criticize they way they left. I would ask for a hug, stare into my dad’s eyes and enjoy the steel blue color. I would hold hands with him and let him put his thumbnail under mine. Or I might touch my friend’s shoulders to relax them and inhale the scent of her clean hair as I did so. I would take those 5 minutes to intimately remember those things that belonged to our relationship that made me feel good; one of the things that left a hole when they left my world; a simple act they performed naturally that filled my heart and fed my soul. And I would sit with that and feel so wonderfully whole and content.

People give us things. And people we love and miss gave us something to love and miss them for. So why not look for that in someone before they go? Put down the cell phone, draw your mind back from wherever it is and look at the person in front of you who is making you feel something good and notice: their eyes, the play of the light on their cheeks, the way they hold their hands, the gentle crease around the eyes when they smile and how it makes you smile, how they add a warmth to your life when they hold your hand and how perhaps they like to interlace their fingers in a way that feels just a little weird. Notice their voice, the rhythmic intonations that make it uniquely theirs. Listen to their words, their comments, their jokes, their laughter. Be with that person. Be totally with them for just 5 minutes.

Because when it is all over, you will never get those 5 minutes again.