A lengthy list of unfinished things: I haven't yet planted the cosmos seeds, haven't finished off the crown molding in the kitchen or removed the soffit cover above the cupboards, haven't straightened the pantry and purged it of its unused junk. Haven't finished cleaning the basement, a task I wish to complete before dying. Haven't finished altering Rosie's dress for Anna's wedding.
All these tasks, except the cosmos seeds, are well begun. All but the cosmos are about half done. Done enough to get by, but not done enough to be perfect. It's amazing how long I can live with unfinished business.
Some of it has a definite shelf life: Rosie's dress, for instance, and the cosmos seeds. And the rest of it? I'm a sloth. It'll get done slowly, slowly.
Death comes when we haven't anything else to do, we sincerely hope. But sometimes it comes smack in the middle of everything, clearing our calendars for us, and we leave our half-finished tasks to others. They either complete them or they do not, depending on how important they were to anybody but us. This fact should help with the triage: which of your unfinished tasks do you definitely not want still hanging around when the funeral casseroles start arriving? If it's something everyone cares about, someone else will do it. But if it's only your pet passion, not particularly admired or even understood by anyone else, you'd better do it yourself, while you still can.
The crown molding and the soffit, then: Q doesn't care much about it, but I do. The basement. The dress, of course.
And, with a mere flick of the wrist, the cosmos seeds. Such a small, easy thing, to give so much pleasure. A kindly reminder that not all our unfinished business will break our backs in the doing of it, so we might as well get started.