Mom 1979

The last time

When was the last time you did a certain thing?

For example, when was the last time you used a camera that wasn’t a part of a phone? For me, it was Christmas 2013. I got my first iPhone, a 5s, a few months earlier. I was still switching between the Canon PowerShot that I used to take our first pictures of our new granddaughter. By Christmas, we were taking all our photos on our phone. You can trace the history of the iPhones we had through the metadata in our photos.

I’ve been thinking about last times as we approach the fourth anniversary of the shutdowns from the pandemic. Four years ago was the last time I worked in an office. I’ve been working from home ever since. The way my work is structured, it’s hard not to work from home. Some of my project team is in India. Can you imagine me getting up before dawn, eating breakfast, showering, dressing, and commuting 20 minutes to an office for a 6:00 am Teams call I could just as easily take at home?

The COVID-19 pandemic meant the last time for a lot of things. The last time you passed up a toilet paper sale because you figured you have enough at home. The last time you decide to go to work sick because “It’s just a cough, and I feel well enough.”

For many, it means something more. It might have been the last time you felt fully well. Or the last time you held the hand of a loved one.

The photo at the top of this post was among the last ones of my mom before her stroke in 1979. Those days were the last times I heard her voice before she couldn’t speak. The last times she would be able to drive. The last times she would go to work. The last times my brother and I could enjoy doing things with her.

We don’t know when the last time for certain things will be. What will be the last time we talk to our parents? What will be the last time we go a sporting event? What will be the last time we can drive ourselves? What will be the last picture we take of someone else? What will be the last picture someone takes of us?

There are many things we should have learned from COVID. One of them is to appreciate our lives and the people we cherish. We should never hesitate to do things we enjoy and show how much we appreciate those we love. Because we never know when it will be the last time.

One comment

  1. Terrific post, Matthew. For me, 2020 was my last year as a principal after 23 years in administration. But I was particularly drawn to your poignant mention of your mother and your caution to take no one for granted. Having lost our son in 2014, my family and I understand that completely. Thanks for the post.

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