Why 37 days? In her explanation, Patricia writes about her experience of the 37 days between her step-father’s diagnosis of lung cancer and his death:
The timeframe of 37 days made an impression on me. We act as if we
have all the time in the world – that’s not a new understanding. But
the definite-ness of 37 days struck me. So short a time, as if all the
regrets of a life would barely have time to register before time was up.
And so, as always when awful things happen, I tried to figure out
how to reconcile in my mind the fact that it was happening and the fact
that the only thing I could do was try to make some good out of it.
What emerged was a renewed commitment to ask myself this question every
morning: ‘what would I be doing today if I only had 37 days to live?’
She then continues:
But here’s how I answered it: Write like hell, leave as much of
myself behind for my two daughters as I could, let them know me and see
me as a real person, not just a mother, leave with them for
safe-keeping my thoughts and memories, fears and dreams, the histories
of what I am and who my people are. Leave behind my thoughts about
living the life, that "one wild and precious life" that poet Mary
Oliver speaks of. That’s what I’d do with my 37 days. So, I’m beginning
I think I’d just like to be able to express myself as beautifully, as meaningfully as Patricia!