The Ten Things I Will Not Think About in My Last Seconds of Life

1. That I really should have taken a toothpick or an old toothbrush or some kind of wooden skewer to those pesky corners and edges of my appliances and plumbing fixtures — the lip of the crisper drawer in the refrigerator, the sides of the stove top, the openings in my showerhead clogged with mineral sediment — all of which I can’t seem to clean properly.

2. That I’m no longer a size four, the way I was before I gave birth to my two babies.

3. That I bought the wrong-color couch, curtains or throw pillows. That the paint didn’t really match the upholstery the way I thought it would, when I squinted at fabric swatches and paint chips in a poorly-lit hardware store.

4. That Nicki Minaj did indeed have musical talent.

5. That Twitter was a worthwhile pursuit on my smartphone. Facebook, of course, was. Instagram, possibly. Just not Twitter. Or Tumblr.

6. That I really should have eaten haggis more than once.

7. That it was important to argue with my beloved over such trivial things as balled-up, stinky socks, poor time management, errant coffee cups and their resulting stains, fleeting dirty looks, and where we were spending Thanksgiving. I should have just let it all go, taken his hand, and taken him to bed a lot more often. (Husband, if you’re reading this now, don’t get ahead of yourself. I have to take the girl to her softball game tonight.)

8. That I was good enough. I know myself. I’ll still think I wasn’t good enough of a daughter, a wife, a mother or a friend.

9. That it was all worth worrying about. Not much of it happened anyway. Except this one death thing, which I couldn’t have controlled with any amount of worry, apparently. Or bargaining. Or power-walking. Or kale.

10. That I’m done. That I’m ready to go, able to leave behind the people who I love, and this devastatingly difficult and beautiful life I’ve been so fortunate to have been given. There is no question that I will confound my husband and adult children in my final moments (please God may my husband outlive me, so he takes up with a nice girlfriend — still with her own set of teeth — in the nursing home, and may my adult children be old enough to be grandparents themselves), as I struggle to throw the deathbed sheets aside, stand and grip the window frame to keep me upright, and laugh and shriek at the view of the mountains, or the FDR Drive, or a nondescript hospital parking lot somewhere in eastern Pennsylvania. I will go out like Zorba the Greek. I will never give in. I will be a spit-fired, huge-hearted, passionate (old — please, please old) pain-in-the-ass Irish woman — so thankful, so greedily desirous of every droplet of this life — until the very moment that they — he, she, whom- or whatever — turn out my light.

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