One Year to Live

By Kathrese McKee | Feature

If I had one year to live, I’d be grateful I had so long. Millions of people who are alive today don’t have a year left. A few have only moments to go, and several said goodbye for the last time just now. If I had a clock like Parvin’s, a device that predicted my demise to the final second, I would have the chance to set my affairs in order, to get rid of my stuff, to say my goodbyes, to make amends, to love.

Gratitude in the Present Moment

As a fiction writer, I spend many hours alone thinking about my stories. I’ve been working on my first novel (for too long), so I tend to live most days focused on the future instead of living with gratitude in the present moment.
But my children won’t be this age tomorrow, and each day they are with me is a treasure. For that matter, this is the one day my husband and I will be this age. The moments often slide through our fingers without anything to mark their passage.

The best moments are the unhurried ones spent with my family. Talking to my kids. Praying before meals. Joking. Doing puzzles. Studying together. Walking on the beach or down the block. Driving around town while singing at the top of our lungs, playing drums on the dashboard, and getting strange looks from other drivers.

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The Biggest Lie

This exercise has reminded me that the greatest lie we believe is that there’s always tomorrow. If I had a clock, it would indicate I now have less than three hundred sixty-five days to live. Subtracting roughly half of those hours for sleeping, eating, and other essentials leaves me only half a year to live like there are no more tomorrows.


First, I would get rid of the activities and things that don’t matter. I would cut some activities almost entirely. Television comes to mind. And most housework. 🙂
Like several of the other writers who’ve tackled this topic for Nadine’s blog hop, I would probably abandon my novel writing and limit myself to journaling. Like Parvin in A Time to Die, I would want to share my journey with the world and try to save others.

Communicate the message of hope

I am most interested in the spiritual welfare of my children. The most important message I would try to communicate day after day is that redemption is entirely needful and freely available.

That message is critical for all people. Like Parvin, I will feel I’ve wasted my life if I don’t try to save others from a hopeless death. Mortality is the one characteristic humans have in common, but death doesn’t have to be forever. Hope exists.

In Christ, my death is only the end of the beginning. I long for that day; its certain arrival is a comfort to me when “life” gets hard. And in Christ, the pain of leaving family and friends behind is assuaged by the certainty that we will meet again.

That’s the message I want to pass on—there is a tomorrow, but it’s not here. My clock says three hundred sixty-four, several hours and a few minutes, but once it hits zero, infinite life begins.

A Time To Die Blog Hop

Follow the blog hop addressing the prompt: If I Had One Year Left to Live . . . How would you answer that question? See how over twenty bloggers answer that question for themselves. Click on the icon to get started. Badge

Mark each day

In addition to journaling, I would find some visual way to mark each day. I love taking photographs and videos. I’m the one who is usually behind the camera, but I might agree to get in front of the camera if I knew I wouldn’t have to live with the results very long. Remember the eighties? Yeah, I’ve hidden those pictures too.



Make memories

With only one year to go, I think a couple of days should go to prayful planning about how to spend all the rest. Deep down, I would like to spend my last days making memories with my family, enough to fill up several scrapbooks with pictures.

However, I think we would need to stay open to change because God’s plans are always bigger than anything we can imagine. And I wouldn’t want to miss out on God’s plans.

God’s plans are always bigger than anything we can imagine.

Walk with God.

One of my favorite role models in the Bible is Enoch who walked with God. I would like to walk with God the way he did.

What kind of person would I be in the space of a year if I followed His lead?How many lives would I touch?Who would I lavish unconditional love on?Who would I mourn with?How often would I sit up through the night with someone?What would God do to multiply my poor, best efforts to be obedient to His will?When the year was up, how far would the ripples of my life spread in all directions?

My clock says three hundred sixty-four, several hours and a few minutes, but once it hits zero, infinite life begins.


The Truth Is . . .

We don’t know until its too late when our last moment has arrived. We do know that the moments are few. They are precious and not to be wasted.

How would you spend your time if you had one year to live? Please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!



How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

This is book one in the Out of Time trilogy. (Subsequent volumes coming in 2015 and 2016.)

Publisher is Steve Laube, published through Enclave Publishing

Connect with Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes Head Shot Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Idaho with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she’s not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures. A Time to Die is her first novel. Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Goodreads book page | Twitter | Pinterest

About the Author

Texas author, Kathrese McKee, writes epic adventures for young adults and anyone else who enjoys pirates and princesses combined with life’s difficult questions. She is committed to exciting stories, appropriate content, and quality craftsmanship.

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