If You Died & Came Back to Earth for a Day, You’d…?

When we die, most of us leave behind some unfinished business or wish we could have spent our last days doing what we love best. So, we started thinking about what would we do if we died and were allowed to return for one day?


Might you spend the 24 hours learning to make croissants with a great pastry chef, which could consume most of that time since it requires careful measuring, rolling out the dough, layering on butter, rolling and folding and waiting? 

Or would you prefer to fly to some wonderful destinations, see sights and peoples you’ve never experienced before and maybe partake of an unusual multicourse meal at a place like the well-known Central Restaurant in Lima, Peru? 

Still others might dream of returning to their last home and doing nothing but savoring familiar sights and people. You tell us after we share our and others’ dreams with you. 

Barbara would head to her beau’s home, travel together to her daughters’ homes, gather them together with their children and all head off to a wonderful resort on an ocean where they could pursue favorite activities together—swimming in the waves, building sandcastles, drinking exotic cocktails with little umbrellas, playing some tennis, taking a long walk along the beach and having a sumptuous meal together with nobody worrying if they ordered the most expensive dishes on the menu or were in charge of cleaning up. 

Margaret, preferably with her late husband, Nolan, in tow, would gather all three kids, her three siblings and their kids and partners, her brother-in-law and his daughters and their children and spouses, and drive to a favorite winery in Napa (probably Duckhorn where her daughter works). Over some great bottles of wine chosen by her daughter and late husband, the group would spend hours getting caught up and saying everything they needed to say while together for the last time. In between sips, Margaret would dig into an assortment of her favorite junk foods. Then, the family would pick a great restaurant in Napa for dinner and not worry about the cost. Afterward, the group would go hear some jazz and her youngest son, a jazz musician and composer, would jam with the group. 

The next morning, with a few hours left, Margaret would be beamed (this would be years away when the “beaming” technology is perfected) back to St. Louis or New York City to one of the schools where she tutored or mentored kids to see how they are doing while sharing tips on how to live their best lives in the moment. Then she’d vanish leaving good memories behind. Whoosh! 

Linda Krakower Greene, travel advisor, New York, N.Y. It isn't a question of what I would do.. it is a question of with whom, she wrote us. If I could return for a day after death, I would want to spend that day with my son. He means everything to me, and I would hope the day would be a happy one, just being together again. I would want to share some meals at his favorite restaurants and talk. 

Sue White, graphic designer, St. Louis, Mo. Obviously, #1 would be to visit my loved ones again. (Even though it would no doubt freak them out!) And of course, I'd want to see any pets I left behind. If I had any unfinished business with anyone, or anything I forgot to tell someone, I'd want to take care of that. I tend to hide important papers and valuables, and I do worry about dying and nobody being able to find them! I'd also probably want to eat ALL my favorite foods. After 24 hours of stuffing my face, I'd feel so miserable I'd be happy to go back to being dead!  :) 

Gilda Brancato, retired lawyer, Washington, D.C.I would take my family to the blue green waters of Polynesia and enjoy the unmatched natural beauty, the ocean that feels like satin, and the treasured, beloved company. That would be the morning activity. In the afternoon, I would convene a conference that succeeded in bringing peace to the world and ended hunger. 

David Landis, public relations expert, San Francisco, Calif. Hug my loved ones and my dogs; Play Stephen Sondheim on my beloved piano; Have lunch at San Francisco’s Waterbar overlooking San Francisco Bay; Attend a cabaret performance at Feinstein’s in San Francisco; Watch the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge; Travel to Venice (Italy) one last time if possible; Demonstrate gratitude to a stranger. 

Maria Walker, Los Angeles, Calif. I hate goodbyes, thus seeing those that I love, is out of the question. I have settled on snorkeling Tahiti and then seeing the waves break at Teahupo’o. Simple, easy and surrounded by beauty.  

Ran Mano, St. Louis, Mo. I would love to spend a day in a national park surrounded by my friends, family and soulmate. We would eat, drink, hike and enjoy nature's splendor. I would also love to attend a concert or comedy show. I always feel so alive in large crowd. 

Phyllis Evan, ceramicist, Boston, Mass. I would spend the day with my children and grandchildren doing the things I most enjoyed doing with them. Making art with a granddaughter, hiking with a grandson, riding bikes with one son, going to the beach and playing in the waves with a daughter, doing yoga with another son. I could accomplish this all in one day by staying together in a house by the ocean. (Truro, Provincetown, the Vineyard or Nantucket, all in Massachusetts, or maybe Maine.) I would hug each individually for a long time and end the day with a big, long wonderful group hug.  

Maybe, some time such wishes will be granted if we wish hard enough.


  • Claire Peck

    After reading this my immediate reaction was…
    Do it now! Do every bit of it and more! Don’t wait…

  • Rena

    I’d be with my parents.

  • Phyllis Evan

    I sent this to my children. I hope they will enjoy seeing it and it occurred to me that maybe we can actually do exactly this. No need to wait for my resurrection. 😊

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