Twenty-Seven Days


If you knew you only had twenty-seven days, how would you live life differently?

I spoke recently to a friend whose daughter gave birth to a child they knew was not going to live. Indeed, it was a miracle that the child was not stillborn. “People tiptoe around us,” she said. “They’re afraid to ask. But every day of her life was a blessing. She made a bigger impact on the world in twenty-seven days than a lot of people do in ninety years.”

What would you do differently if you knew you only had twenty-seven days?

I would order out every meal. Shower only occasionally. Sleep with the baby, and “safety” be hanged. I would touch her face and breathe in her scent and try hard not to blink. I would take a thousand pictures and not bother to check if they were in focus. I would drink deep of the holiness of the moment, and let joy and grief coexist, mingling and melding until the tears that spilled over couldn’t be classified as one or the other.

And when it was over, I’d worry about everything else.

You can’t live ordinary life with that kind of intensity. Other children need their parents; there are deadlines to be met, commitments to be honored, paychecks to be earned and bills to be paid.

But as I sit and type, the three-month-old on my lap looks up at me with bright charcoal eyes and gurgles and coos at the woman who is the center of his universe, his first experience of God, of perfect, unconditional love. And his nose crinkles, and his mouth opens into a huge smile I never can quite capture. And the world has to stop for this moment, because this moment–this one–will never come again. There will be others, but this one is passing away forever and I want to hold the beauty of it, not just in my memory, but in my very skin and bones and heart.

And that is one more lesson taught by a child I never met. A child who lived only twenty-seven days.

Shared with

Just Write

8 thoughts on “Twenty-Seven Days

  1. Colleen

    Oh, my. I cannot even comprehend what that was like. But I agree with you. I would live each moment, holding and loving that child and let the other stuff wait. Prayers for your friend.

  2. This was so, SO beautiful! Something like that should shake us all and make us grab onto our blessings and give them a squeeze. My prayers are with your friend also!

  3. this made me teary-eyed Kathleen. And you are right – you just can’t live life with that kind of intensity – but the lesson to be learned – oh, lesson to be learned. And how you must feel when you hold your baby – your baby who will one day walk, and drive, and graduate, and yet always be your baby – before this year of blogging – before reading so many moms, I didn’t have a clue about that kind of love – I do now. This post today is just one more piece of that love – one more bit of knowledge for me to keep and ponder my heart. Thank you Kathleen, and God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours.

  4. Oh I needed to read this today because this is what my daughter taught me. She only lived for three days. She taught me that the laundry and dishes can wait but my children cannot.

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