Living On Borrowed Time

Listen to this obituary

The idea of ’living on borrowed time’ is the focus of today’s blog. So, screw your big ears on, and let’s go! 

The Collins Dictionary describes today’s subject as someone who has continued to live or to do something for longer than was expected and is likely to die or be stopped from doing it soon.

Living On Borrowed Time can be a frustrating way to live. Someone who lives there has had a traumatic moment of accident or illness or terminal diagnosis. Someone who has been a physical caregiver for those living on borrowed time knows the roller-coaster ride of physical and emotional exhaustion that comes with the task. 

Who takes care of the caregiver in a prolonged crisis? Perhaps no one.

Earl Grollman has given us a set of ten commandments for the concerned caregiver. 

Rule #1 dealing with prolonged illness is Be Realistic. We pray for recovery for our loved ones, but  everybody is going to die of an accident or disease at some point. When we cling to false expectations, we distort the present and postpone the future.

Rule #2 dealing with prolonged illness is Be informed. As questions for the doctors come to mind, write them down in the notes section of your phone or keep a notebook to make the most of informational opportunities with the medical team.

Rule #3 is to be careful of YOUR physical health. As a concerned caregiver, we can lose our appetite, sleep, and energy to live. How are we going to be able to serve our loved one if we are in the bed, too?

Rule #4 is to take care of your emotional health. Caregiving is a high-stress activity. The word “stress” is borrowed from the engineering field and refers to the force applied to a structure. It’s a good idea to  schedule time daily so the caregiver can recharge.

Rule #5 is to be caring for your spiritual health.                      You are going to need strong faith in God and a good  support system to make it through. You will need to find a way to attend church and worship, meditate, and pray with others of faith.

Rule #6 is don’t compare deaths. Regardless of whether a death is anticipated or unanticipated, death IS coming, and there is no real way to get 100% ready for it. People’s lives and deaths are different.

Rule #7 is don’t feel guilty if you feel a sense of relief. This relief, when death comes, may well be the most conflicted feeling you may feel. But you and the Lord have done your best and a difficult task is complete.

Rule #8 is don’t stop searching for meaning in the loss. Death changes us and uniquely qualifies us to bless others.

Rule #9 is don’t end your search for growth and purpose. Pain, loss, and separation can lead you to growth, or they can destroy your life.

Rule #10 is don’t end your search for spirituality. Even with all the “WHY?” questions we have surrounding death — ask them IF the search for answers leads us closer to God and not farther away. (Deut. 29:29) 

You and I are living on borrowed time today and we need to live like we know it!

Picture of Doug Greenway

Doug Greenway

These blog articles are written by the retired minister and former educator and counselor, Doug Greenway. He'd love to hear from you with your comments, questions, or suggestions for future topics. You may reach Doug at

Leave a Comment