I wanted to share someone else's story today... one that she shared with me recently that I felt had such a powerful message for us all. I met Tara at my first Camp Widow back in 2014, and I remember having a great conversation with her one night over a few drinks out on the patio. She made an impression on me that night that has always stuck. A bit reserved at first, she seemed to me as someone who's trust you have to earn in order to get closer to. I'm a big believer in that myself (as many of us are now) and so I greatly respected this about her. We met up once again in Tampa for Camp this year... and had some time to visit again. I noticed her wearing a certain watch, and though I never got around to asking about it, I read the story she shared of it online after returning home. It's a powerful story that she and her husband have created together. In my mind, it is a way that he is still actively helping to guide her, and maybe even guide all the rest of us too. I'll let her tell it in her own words, because she wrote it with such passion and spirit:
"Stephen and I were on a cruise in 2003 and the man who never, I mean NEVER, asked for anything, said to me that he always wanted a Rolex watch. So, while we were in St. Thomas, we stopped at the Rolex store. We were there FOR EVER. He was anal about everything. Which I loved about him. So, after trying on almost all the watches in his price range, he picked out his "special" watch. We nearly missed the ship it took so long, but he had his "special" package in tow..."
"Now, Stephen was an electrician, so, he could not wear this watch everyday, so, he packed it away, carefully at first. But after some time, looked in catalog after catalog for a "special" watch winder, for his "special" watch. Once the watch winder came in, he unpacked his "special" watch from it's case, and placed it carefully in its "special" watch winder place, and adored it from his dresser. Never to wear it, only to look at it.
When finally, one day, a year or so later, it was his parents 50th anniversary, and there was a celebration. He was to give a toast, and dress up. So I asked hopefullly, "Stephen, are you going to wear your watch?" to which he replied, "no, I am saving it for something "special". I walked away shaking my head, but, trusting that he knew what that would be.
Days, and months, and yes, years had passed. I watched him adore his "special" watch in its "special" watch winder on his dresser, when finally, his older sister was getting married. The day was upon us and he was putting on his tuxedo, looking all hot, and I approached with bated breath, and asked, "Stephen, are you going to wear your watch?" To which he replied, "no, I'm saving it for something special." I said, "what could be more special, but your sister's wedding? Your in a tuxedo, and this will be her only wedding?" He said plainly, "nope, saving it for something special." I was so disappointed, but, I knew that he would not budge, so I left it alone.
Another year went by, watching that damn watch winder spinning his "special" watch around and around, when it came time for my parents 50th wedding anniversary party. Knowing what the answer would be, but not wanting to miss an opportunity to see if "today" would be the day, I asked with a little hope, "Stephen, are you going to wear your watch?" To which he replied, "no, I'm saving it for something "special".
Eight months later, he died in a car accident, and NEVER EVER got to wear his "special" watch. NOT ONCE.
I don't know what could have been so special, what event that he was saving that "special" watch for. But let me tell you this.
I now wear that "special" watch. EVERY DAY. Because you know what? Every day is special. We have found that there are NO guarantees in life, and that tomorrow is not promised to ANY OF US. SO, use your wedding china, EVERY DAY, use your crystal, EVERY DAY, and for God's sake, WEAR YOUR DAMN WATCH!"
I couldn't help but be inspired by the message of this story. Not only is it about choosing to make every day special, but the entire lesson is made deeper by the fact that it is a watch we are talking about - something that so resembles time, fragility, and the fleeting nature of it all. I can't imagine a more perfect symbol to be wearing as a reminder to embrace each moment. Quite literally, Tara wears her moments on her wrist, remembering to make her time here special, and live for now.