My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue wrapped package.“This," he said,  “is not a piece of paper. This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me the lingerie. It was exqrusite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of  lace. The  price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.


"Jan bought this the first time we went to New York  at least 8 0r 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion." He took the lingerie from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician。


His hands lingered on the sofi material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and tumed to me  "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."  I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death.

他的手在那柔软的面料上停留了一会儿,然后关上抽屉转过身来对我说:“千万别为了什么东西去等什么合适的机会,你活着的每一天都是一个机会。”   在我帮着他和我的侄女处理因这场意外死亡而接踵而至的充满着悲伤琐事的葬礼期间,我一直在想着这句话。

I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives.I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.


I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in comnuttee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattem of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.


I'm not "saving"  anything; we use our good cluna a-nd crystal  for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market ifl feel like it. My theory is if l look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends'.


“Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearmg or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I'm not sure what my sister would have done, had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted.


I think she would have called family members and a few close friends.She might have called a few formerfriendto apologize and mend fencesfor past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite  food.  I'm  guessing I'll never I now。


It's those liffle things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days.Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them.


I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.


And every moming when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every  breath truly is ... a gift from God.