The Phone Call.

Last night I got one of those phone calls everyone dreads getting in the middle of the night: an emergency happened to a family member :(

Turns out my uncle – who’s been in and out of the hospital for years with heart problems – was finally on his last legs and was expected to pass any time over night. My mom had called us kids to shoot him a call one last time and say goodbye, so we promptly did so and it was one of the weirdest/ hardest calls I’ve probably had to make.

What do you say to someone who’s about to pass into the next world? I’ve never had the chance to actually say goodbye before someone was leaving (my grandparents passed in their sleep), so needless to say it was pretty surreal. All I tried to do was get him to laugh one last time and let him know how much we love him and that we’ll be seeing him again one day soon (even though he says he’ll be down below while we’re above, haha.. he was quite the trouble maker back in the day ;))

The next day my parents flew out there in hopes of catching him one last time before the inevitable, and not only did they get to do that and say their goodbyes in person, but they found out something even more amazing: HE WASN’T DYING!!!! Apparently they had a new on-call doctor on the scene who mistakenly read his signs wrong and thus setting off the panic and sadness. So while he’s still, indeed, deteriorating due to his bad heart unfortunately, they’re now saying he’ll actually have a full year or so left until it’s time to worry again. Incredible!

The reason I’m telling you all this? MAKE SURE YOU’RE LIVING YOUR LIFE!

I know we all want to rock it out and be wildly rich beyond our dreams, but at the end of the day money is the last thing we probably care about when it’s time to go. Yes it’s important to pay attention too, and yes you want to have stuff in place in case an emergency hits (just ask my poor friend Ashley who recently lost her father AND had to deal with messy finances on top of it all), but really it’s all about feeling like you’ve lived a happy and rewarding life. At least from what I gather… If that changes, and there’s blogging in the after-life, I’ll be sure to confirm back ;)

All I know is that right now my uncle appreciates life more than anyone. To be told you’re dying in a matter of hours, and then get a 1 year extension is beyond comprehension to me.

What would you do with an extra year of your life???
What can you do NOW while you (hopefully) have many more left than that??
Are you happy?

Personally, I’m gonna take the day off from obsessing about money like I do, and reflect on some of those questions instead. I really don’t wanna wake up one day (my LAST day) and feel like I haven’t lived any! It may be time to update that ol’ bucket list while I’m at it too.

What a turn of events…

(Photo by Lel4nd)

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  1. Lance @ Money Life and More June 28, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    I’m glad things turned out better. I think you took an awesome approach trying to get him to laugh. Sorry for the scare and make sure you get out to visit him soon!

  2. Tony June 28, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    I’m going to do the same J$ . Thanks for this post. It’s hard writing stuff like this, because it gives you a sense of your own mortality.

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      I hope you did, bud. Good to hit pause every now and then and look around :)

  3. Michelle June 28, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    With an extra year, I would still be trying to live everyday like it’s my last. Not to be a downer, but my dad was told he had 10 years when in reality he passed away 6 months later. Every single day is important!

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Oh no!!! So horrible :(

  4. Evan June 28, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Wow! That doc is an asshole lol

  5. John S @ Frugal Rules June 28, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Wow, what a crazy (albeit great) turn of events! It’s just further proof how life can literally change in no time at all.

  6. Jake @ Common Cents Wealth June 28, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Wow, that is pretty crazy. A year is so much better than a few hours and I’m sure he’ll make the most of it now that he’s had that close of a scare. This is a great reminder that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so we better enjoy today while it’s here.

  7. Aimee June 28, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    Yikes!! Your poor family! I hope everyone can take a positive spin on it and make your uncle’s time as great as possible.

    This has actually been on my mind lately since my boyfriend shared this video with me.

    We live a life with risky hobbies (moreso him than me), and his job itself is risky. I also worry about running out of time to do things that I “need” to be “young” to do. In the context of the video, I think about how many jelly beans I’ve spent on school, exams, studying etc just to spend more jelly beans at a desk. Being a ‘yes’ person, how many jelly beans do I spend doing things other people request of me instead of what I really want to do? I also spend a good chunk of jelly beans planning my finances so I can do things in the future debt-free, but who knows if I’ll even have any left after all this planning unfolds? I guess it’s all gamble!

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      Dannnnng what a cool video!!! Blaring it right now as I type this – thank you so much for passing it along. Here’s to thousands more of jelly beans!

  8. Money Beagle June 28, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    That’s crazy. I’ve heard stories where someone is told they are terminal, so they go out and basically spend their money living their dreams, and then find out that the diagnosis was wrong, and while they had a great time doing whatever it is they did, they’re broke.

  9. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen June 28, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    I’m glad your uncle has a year to live longer! That must have been scary news for your entire family. It’s unfortunate that the doctor got his diagnosis wrong.

  10. Donna Freedman June 28, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Sorry for your turmoil but glad you have another chance to maybe go see your uncle…? I’m heading to NJ/NY/PA next week and will be visiting a 90-year-old aunt, the last surviving sibling on my mother’s side. Mom died in August 2003 and every time I visit this aunt I think, “This is the last person who knew what my mom was like as a child and a teenager.”
    Every time I see her I think it will be the last — she’s incredibly frail and has several serious health conditions — but she keeps hanging in there. So yes, do take the time to live your life and spend time with the people you love.
    (And I’ve gotten “the call” myself, the worst possible kind: My daughter was in the intensive care unit. That was the day that all our lives changed.)

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      Sooooooo scary!!! I love your daughter too so I can only imagine :( Tell your Untie J$ says hi! :)

  11. StackingCash June 28, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Oh man, this is why I keep struggling with personal finance. The balancing act of saving vs. spending is so difficult and constantly sways to one side to the other. I used to err on the side of saving but as I get older, I tend to sway on the side of spending.

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      I think all we can do is really just go with the flow and what “feels right” at the time, ya know? It could be saving or spending or paying off debt or whatever, as long as it seems to be the right thing at the time. Who knows what our futures hold.

  12. Crystal June 28, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Wow…what an emotional roller coaster! I try to live every day like it’s my last (obviously some are more pathetic last days than others, lol). Honestly, I don’t mind thinking about money as much as I do, as long as it doesn’t keep me from spending as much time possible happy with friends and family. I just like cheap happy more than expensive happy, lol. Yay to your uncle!

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      Haha… I like cheap happy too :)

  13. Martin June 28, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Wow, crazy how things turned out!

    I’ve learned this lesson many times over the last few years. I try to get the most out of life. I’ve tried to go on as many trips as possible and to capitalize on every opportunity that has come my way.

  14. Jackie June 28, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Wow, glad the doctor was wrong. And glad you got a chance to make that call anyway!

  15. Shafi June 28, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    What do you say to someone who’s about to pass into the next world?

    You can say “May God bless you.”

  16. Michael @ The Student Loan Sherpa June 29, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    That must have been such a relief. Sometimes life has a way of reminding us that the things we worry about day to day are really insignificant in the long run.

  17. Debra K June 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Wow. Sucky mistake. Believe it or not, I actually just went through something similar myself… thanks to a typo and a doctor who didn’t read carefully and didn’t look into things before scaring the crap out of me. And then when she did learn that it wasn’t as bad as it’d seemed (and as she’d told me), SHE DIDN’T LET ME KNOW! So I spent a week thinking I might have lung cancer or something and could possibly be dying. It sure made me think! And it helped me see quickly who was there for me!

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      Wowwwwwwwwww so crazy!!! I’m glad it was MUCH better in the end!! Doctors amaze me sometimes… Though I guess they’re humans too..

  18. Taynia @ The Fiscal Flamingo June 29, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Amazing! Another year to live! And terrifying! How could the doctor get that so wrong!

    After my mom died last year, I said I would stop obsessing about money. And so my husband and I took the year off. We are currently enjoying our lazy days by the pool and watching our minis play in the sand. Sadly we only have six months left. Unless we win the lottery.

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      That is so cool you guys took the year off! Wow. You don’t hear that very often. Wish it were under better circumstances though :(

  19. Michelle June 30, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    WTH?? Jeez. You’re right though that people tend to forget about living in the “now.” I have been working really hard on focusing on enjoying each day and making sure that my schedule is open enough to allow myself time to be spontaneous and prioritize what’s important.

  20. Patrick June 30, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Uhhh… wow. That’s some seriously hardcore stuff.

    Yeah, man. Take some time. Everybody has got to just * be * sometimes.

  21. Thomas June 30, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    That doctor needs a reality check. Geez but at least you are able to get something out of it. One you now have more time to actually spend or communicate with your uncle. Two you are able to focus and realize that people indeed should live life. Plan like there is a tomorrow but enjoy what it is you have for you right now. Tomorrow is never ever promised.

  22. Tushar @ Everything Finance June 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    I’m sorry that your uncle ended up in the hospital, even if he’s not dying. That must have been scary. Life is short, and we really should be all living it up.

  23. Mary Anne @ BillGuard July 1, 2013 at 6:24 AM

    Wow, I’m glad to hear that everything ultimately turned out to be okay for your uncle. And thanks for the reminder that it’s important to stop, relax, and appreciate our lives.

  24. Ruth July 1, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    I lost my mom late last year and the best advice I give to everyone is “….tell the people in your life how much you love and appreciate them!…” You don’t know when your time will come or if it’s the last time you will see a loved one. I’m not saying to live life fearing death……that’s not it at all. But, the worst thing that could happen is to lose someone without telling that person what a great influence they had on your life. Plus, it makes that person feel awesome to know that they made a difference! God Bless your uncle and I hope that he will experience great love and joy during the gift of time remaining.

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      Thank you so much Ruth. I think you hit it on the head with this, “the worst thing that could happen is to lose someone without telling that person what a great influence they had on your life.” – that WOULD be miserable! I hope you were able to share lots of great quality time with your mom and were able to tell her everything you wanted as well. Thanks for stopping by :)