Do Not Wait

January 4, 2022

Before I hang up the phone, the doctor quickly says, “If I could offer you one piece of non-medical advice, don’t wait. The end is unknown but not far, so please don’t wait.” As tears stream down my face the phone goes silent. 

Through the years and the multiple diagnoses she has been a one-of-a-kind, brilliant doctor, and right now, once again, she’s both of those things. Her words feel harsh on my heart for I know what they signify. They also feel important too. Coming from her, I know I need to listen and act swiftly, even though I remain in denial of our new realities. 

She says, “Don’t wait,” because she knows my mother is dying. 

She says, “Don’t wait,” because she knows there are no other medical treatments or healings left. 

She says, “Don’t wait,” because she knows what the end looks like, she’s seen it before. 

She says, “Don’t wait,” because she can see our hesitation and our uncomfortable ache. 

She says, “Don’t wait,” because we are now left with far too little time while also being blessed with just a little longer. 

She says, “Don’t wait,” to give us an action plan, to give us another task to focus on. 

She says, “Don’t wait,” so we won’t. She gives us this compassionate advice so that we will say our “I love you’s” and ask the questions currently held silent in our hearts. She gives us this sensitive advice so we will use our time wisely, both in grief and in love. She gives us this bold advice so we will honor what remains because it is slipping through our fingers quicker with each second. She gives us this advice so we will have less regrets. Out of all of her advice through the years, this has been the most profound and poignant. 

So we listen. We follow her advice. We use the last moments to solidify our love, appreciation and gratitude for the one slowly leaving us. We say a million “I love you’s”. We hug her. We lay with her. We hold her until we no longer can. 

We don’t wait. 

We don’t wait because this dedicated and compassionate doctor was brave enough to tell us not to. 

My advice to each and every one of you, don’t wait. Do not wait. Time is already slipping from you whether you realize it or not. It’s slipping from all of us. 

Do not wait, friends. Do not wait.

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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