Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
October 1, 2018 [printfriendly]
The Bucket List is a 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It’s a great movie. The main plot follows two terminally ill men on their road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket”. Their wish list is their “bucket list”.
Well, I have my own bucket list.
To bring you up-to-date, I was diagnosed on 9/19/18 with IgA Kappa Light Chain Multiple Myeloma. Currently, I am moving in a positive direction to heal my body by improving my immune system. However, I also know that my bone marrow cancer has a poor prognosis. So, I want to share the few things I want to do before my time is up.
My Bucket List
My Bucket List does not include traveling to faraway exotic places or acquiring expensive trinkets that have no meaning or value to me. I have little need for material possessions. My list is short but includes the most important “action steps” that will give me pleasure. My bucket list is to…
- …Give my grandkids their “time chests”.
- …Dine once again at Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in DisneyWorld and enjoy the 10-course small-plate dinner with wine pairing.
- …Spend quality time with my family and friends, enjoying their company as well as laughing and reflecting on the memories we created in years gone by.
When each of my three grandkids were born, I purchased a newspaper from the city in which they were born. On every birthday thereafter, I purchased a newspaper again in the city in which they lived. I preserved each paper in a secure plastic bag to keep it “fresh”. All their newspapers are in each of their chests. Also, “stuff” the kids created and gave to me and my wife along the way are in the boxes. Important and some very funny photos are also tucked away in the chests. To sum up the purpose of each chest, I wrote a letter in 2011 for my grandson and both granddaughters. Each letter is sealed in a personal envelope attached to the inside lid of the boxes. I titled the letter “Memories”, and it reads:
Alvin H Danenberg, 12/19/2011
As we get older, our maturity filters out indiscriminate needs. A sense of purpose replaces indecision and confusion. Material possessions gathered along the journey have surprisingly little significance. The real value, the lasting enjoyment, the greatness that brings a smile to life are the indelible memories of all the moments.
If I can leave one profound gift, it would be to impress the importance of creating memories – memories of love, memories of accomplishments, memories of pride. These will stay with you forever; these will be your comfort when times are challenging; these will be your meaning of life.
My intention was to give each chest to my grands when they were in their twenties – a time in their lives when they would be mature enough to appreciate the contents. Now that my life has changed, the timeframe has been cut significantly shorter. Currently, my youngest granddaughter is 12-years-old, my grandson is 15-years-old, and my other granddaughter is sweet sixteen – all too young to understand the great value that resides in these chests. However, it is important to me that I give them their chests now, so I can enjoy their moment of discovery.
Victoria and Albert’s Restaurant
My wife and I have dined at Victoria and Albert’s a few times in the past. Each was for a special occasion, and each was an amazing experience. Since fine food and wine are always on my mind, this restaurant is a “given” for me to experience with family again. We have a reservation scheduled. Wow! Another spectacular memory is waiting to be created.
I am an incurable romantic. So, creating memories is what it is all about for me. Spending time reliving past memories and discussing the realities of my current challenge are most important.
Basically, I can clear my calendar and fill my time with my wife, daughter, son, their spouses and children, and a few select friends. I need to help them understand and believe that I am going through a perfectly natural part of life. Death is not to be feared; it is to be embraced and welcomed. The beauty is that I have the time to literally tie all the loose ends in my life together, make amends, say goodbyes, and have a “hell of a good time”. Wow! I am blessed!
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I obviously do not know and cannot know when my time will end on this earth. If my New Health Plan extends my quality life for years to come, that would be awesome. But, I am prepared for any scenario.