If Not Now, When?
“If not now, when.”
This is part of a quote from Rabbi Hillel in Pirke Avot, a compilation of sayings from sages from around the year 0.
This is what I thought of this morning as I lamented the fact that while my father was dying in the hospital for 3 months I didn’t record my thoughts daily. Yes, it was an intensely draining experience, but I was learning and feeling so much and I wanted to try to capture it and tell it in story and lesson form to friends and strangers who might be helped by it.
This is stuff like…..fuck I really can’t even remember right now and it’s not the point of this post. In general we’re talking things like simple acts of kindness that were beyond moving. Or the way people are so unbearably bad at dealing with death. Or the way I tried to get closer to my father and say everything that needed to be said despite the fact that his brain was riddled with cancer and he couldn’t really talk.
And that’s the point. I knew I was having extremely unique and possibly once in a lifetime observations, I was coming to conclusions, seeing things for what they really were, gaining incredible insights that helped me grow and that I would love to impart. But it was such a whirlwind and I didn’t have the energy to write. I figured at the end of the saga I would remember and write everything that I saw and felt. Maybe next time ;) My siblings and I, and also a family friend who was going through the same thing at the same time in the same hospital (weird), we’d always say to each other “YDODO” - standing for Your Dad Only Dies Once. It was used in relation to things that we would justify doing simply because this was a once in a lifetime experience.
And that’s exactly the point. I won’t get the opportunity to experience this ever again.
I was journaling this morning and had the epiphany that I should’ve just voice recorded everything that was happening at that crazy time at the end of each day and gone through it all at another time when all was said and done.
I’m not upset that I didn’t have this epiphany then. It’s more that I deluded myself into thinking I would write some all-encompassing thing that perfectly encapsulated my thoughts and feelings on everything that was happening.
Now I’m stuck trying to remember these things. Hopefully they’ll emerge as I develop my writing practice and become more and more diligent with it. So stay tuned.
But I made a point of getting this post written and published as soon as I thought to write it. Because too many times things come to me and float away.
And if I don’t do it now, when will I?