Coaching,  Communication

Make Every Minute Count

These past few weeks have been as crazy busy as ever for me and I’m trying to figure out why. It’s August, shouldn’t everyone be on vacation?! Of course, I won’t ever figure out the Universe and how it works, but I have given myself permission to stop and make every minute count – something that was a powerful lesson when I decided to take a last minute trip to New Orleans to visit my Dad.

I wasn’t expecting to write about this week, and because I’ve been SO busy, I haven’t posted a blog in a long while…so as I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to write, this whole stream of consciousness came to me—my recent last minute decision to visit my Dad.

The sad truth is I haven’t seen him in over 2 years, which I felt really bad about. I’m a victim of just letting my life get in the way, which I so regret now. You see, my Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I knew he was struggling, but he still called me every week and we still had our chats until recently when he fell and I got a call from my step mother. It was then I made the last minute decision to book a plane ticket and leave the next day for New Orleans to see him.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thank goodness I had some books on Alzheimer’s and I had this wonderful book my incredible Executive Coach Debbie Phillips recommended called Final Gifts. I was able to skim over a few and bring a few with me for the long plane ride to where I grew up, my home town of New Orleans.

I don’t want to bore you with all the details of my visit. But what I do want to say is when I arrived late that night it was then that I so got how precious each moment is and how I just don’t want to waste them anymore. In fact, it was my Dad who said to me once during my visit that he just takes each minute as it comes, that’s all he could do.

And so my journey continues with my Dad. And when I was there visiting with him, I just made each minute count and focused on the little glimpses of him and the memories that we’ve shared over our lifetime. My Dad is an amazing man and a wonderfully talented doctor, a gastroenterologist who built an incredible practice. I just remember how his patients loved him and the joy he got from helping people heal.

So I went from New Orleans with my Dad, to our summer home in Maine where I flew my Mom up to spend some time with us at our lake house for her birthday. She’d never been to Maine before and has had the most amazing time of firsts, from going on a jet ski to riding an ATV…

This month has been one of healing, grief, joy and focusing on making every minute count, not just with my Mom and Dad, but with my own family as well. I forget how fragile life can be and honestly, when I die, I’m not going to wish I had worked more – I’m going to wish I had made more memories with my family, and laughed more and had more fun…. So this week’s message isn’t about work at all, it’s just simply about life… I hope you can stop and enjoy every minute and make them count. We all need to laugh often and spend quality time with those we love… and to anyone out there with a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s, my heart goes out to you.

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  • Jane Schneider

    Hi, Shannon.

    Your story really got to me. I had a similar situation with my dad, but it happened in an instant. He was shopping at the mall with my mom and she’d left him listening to the piano player in Von Maur as she went to another store to get something. Then over the load speaker, she was called to Von Maur, where she saw my dad lying on the floor. He’d gotten up from his seat for some reason and fell and hit his head on a clothes rack.

    Later we found out that the fall had caused his brain stem to snap or separate. He then got a condition called “normal pressure hydrocephalus” or swelling of the brain. His brain tissue was replacing itself with water, so he was literally losing his brain.

    He underwent an amazing procedure in which the neurosurgeon placed a shunt that ran from his brain to his stomach, draining the excess water. He was back to his old self again, making bad jokes and cheering on the Cubs. I made it a point to visit him often, because the doctor said that his brain would regain his equilibrium and he’d go back to having severe dementia.

    The relief lasted for a year. I am so glad that I have the cherished memories of bringing my dad beer and shrimp in the hospital and playing Cribbage. He lasted for another week before he passed away.

    Thank you so much for touching my heart with your story about your dad. I wish you and your family — and your dad, all the best.

    Have a wonderful rest of your vacation.


    P.S. I’m taking Jeff Walker’s PLF 3.0 and he gave me 15 minutes on his coaching call to help me with my three pieces of prelaunch content. Now I’m totally set and my first small JV launch will be on October 6. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  • Shannon

    Hi Jane, thanks so much for your inspiring and thoughtful comment and your amazing story about your dad. I’m so glad you had that time with him, it’s so interesting how life unfolds. And that’s so cool you’re in PLF, let me know how it goes. I’m happy to help you however I can, definitely keep me posted. Will you be at the event in October, I hope to see you there. Best, Shannon

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