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The Last 72 Hours

by Mustafa Tabanli

The Last 72 hours "Captain Be

: Jan 1, 2012 • 120 Pages • 15 x 22,5 • ISBN 9781935295136
: Art & Photography, Fiction,
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Captain Bell, there's something burning in the distance...take a look."
"Lieutenant, they're stranded Vietnamese boat people and there are some dead bodies in the water around them."
"Captain, we've been given strict orders not to pick 'em up- you know we're supposed to only give them food and water but we can't pick 'em up."
"For God's sake lieutenant, orders are orders but I see what looks like a few dead bodies around their boat—the rest of 'em are gonna die out there if we don't pick 'em up...

There are situations in life when people face death within a matter of hours or less. Even if a certain Captain comes to save the day, we always know, in some corner of our mind, that our appointed hour will sooner or later approach us. But what if death wasn't in the corner of our minds, but rather in the centre? What if we contemplated death and lived each day as if it was our last? What if we were only given 72 hours to live? This book provides a selection of responses to all the "what ifs" that have crossed minds...

Mustafa Tabanli is the producer of the Emmy Award winning television series Matter and Beyond for Ebru TV, New Jersey, USA.

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For many of us who are healthy, happy and whole, the concept of death seems like a distant idea, one that we keep pushing away to the back of our minds. We live each day forgetting that it may be our last in this transient world. We search for different ways to improve our lives—to be the best, to do the best, to have the best. But can we really live our best if we can’t face the fact that life comes with an expiry date?

The 2010 “Last 72” writing contest jointly organized by the Fountain Magazine and Everest Production invited writers to describe what it would be like for them if they suddenly had to live out three days as though it was their last by addressing the question “What would you do if you had only 72 hours to live?” This was by no means an easy question to answer. Still, people from over 25 countries and 44 US states sent in their entries. Instead of fantasy bucket lists, guidelines insisted writers create and compose in their writing, realistic tasks capable of uplifting lives.

Hundreds poured troheir hearts out, detailing the wrongs they needed to right, the lost loved ones they needed to find, and the reunions they needed to organize. We were able to have a glimpse of what really mattered to most people when we read their reflections on their departure from this world.

The general picture reflected that all people, irrespective of faith, color or background, shared similar wishes before their death. On the whole, most people tended to remember their loved ones and appreciated their value more when death was in question. Just as a child seeks their mother in times of trouble, it seems that human nature leads us to spend our final hours with family members, even if some of them have been neglected for a long time.

Interestingly, many people expressed their concerns about “this world” even though they were about to leave it for good, not giving much thought to the possible source of the yearning we feel for eternity. Rumi compares the human soul’s yearning for eternity to a reed flute crying for the reed-bed it misses, longing for reunion with the Beloved. But the reunion may not be welcome for the ones who insist on leading a tone-deaf life.

In brief, we have picked the articles of the finalists whose stories stood out. In this book, you will find the heroes of the Pacific, treasure jars that contain invaluable memories, hopes and regrets, highs and lows, and everything in between that makes life worth living. When you finish the book, you may write your own answer and ask yourself: “What would I do if I had only 72 hours to live?”

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You Waste It, You’ve Lost It / Joseph J. Salter1
Captain Bell’s Rescue / Ha-Thanh Nguyen5
I am an Immigrant / Joanna Bodnar9
My Treasure Jars / Belinda Sturgill13
For the Sake of Autism / Kimberly Parker 17
In a Better Place / Dana Gates21
Being a “New Creature” / Sharon Carter25
As-Salamu Alaikum / Patricia Canbolat29
The First 72 / Heidi Peaster33
Peaceful Beginnings into the Next Life / Diana M. Amadeo37
Dying Would Not Be the End / Melinda Callaghan41
What Love Can Do / Margaret Murphy45
One Last Ride / Ginny Richardson-Clark49
Making a Difference / Heather Douglas53
Last 72 / Shyla Doğan57
I Would Not Want a Million Dollars / Laurie Krebs61
A Small Seed in Their Hearts / Andres Robles65
The Blessing I Was Given / Eric Riley Sanders69
The Letter to Madelyn / Deborah Ross73
One Pressing Issue on My Mind / Mary Thompson77
When God Calls Me Home / Leesha White79
A Doorway to Pass Through / AdriAnna Newberry83
That Speck of Sand / Ginger Johnson87
These Words Are Powerful / June A. Ford89
Follow Your Heart / Erica F. Drame93
This Dream We Call Life / Jennifer Folker97
We Have a Purpose / Janice Wagley101
We Were Born Dying / Jonathan Dominic Pisana105
One Salty Tear Drop on My Tongue / Misty Provencher109
Chicken Soup for the Soul / Dale S. Brown113
Something Else Would Be More Important / Jeanette Oruç-de León117

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Mustafa Tabanli
Mustafa Tabanli

Mustafa Tabanli is the producer of the Emmy Award winning television series Matter and Beyond for Ebru TV, New Jersey.