For those of us lucky enough and who are interested in the World wide community we live in (thanks to the internet and social media), it’s practically impossible to avoid receiving inspirational stories or examples which encourage us to tell the people who we love that we care about them, before it is too late.
I’ve read my share of these over the years and have nodded sagely and passed them onto family and friends, but I can’t say with complete confidence that I have actually got around to taking this valuable advice and approach to life on every occasion.
Having said that, I can tell you that after my dad died very unexpectedly in 1998 at the comparatively young age of 63: years later in 2012 when my mum was literally at Death’s Door it did give me a big wake up call! She made a relatively excellent recovery – at least in terms of her mental faculties and it made me determined to do those things which I hadn’t made the opportunity to do with my dad.
I listened with far more care to her retellings of family stories and consciously started to write them down so that they could be shared with other family members. I asked her the sort of questions which had crossed my mind over the years, but I just hadn’t got around to asking: what would she have done as a career, did she mind that she hadn’t learnt to drive – all sorts of things and the answers were often unexpected, surprising and always golden.
I was lucky. She lived a long life and I had plenty of time to be able to do this, as well as overcome her natural reserve and my own apprehension which resulted, to know that she was loved as in turn was I.
The cruellest thing, as well as in a strange way kind too, is that we never know when Death will come.
That’s open for debate I realise, but really I just say it to illustrate the point that it is as hundreds (if not thousands before me) have said, just so important to really listen and talk to the people who you love and care about. All I would suggest is that we just think how lovely it is to say all those things to that special person while you are still both able to sit or stroll together and share your thoughts and feelings, and take action today!
Jeremy (Gumby), never failed to tell people who he cared about that he loved them, he was an attentive listener who valued others. When I got back from sitting with my mum in hospital when she was close to death the second and final time, we shared a smoke and a beer in her back garden in front of the fire he had built. He talked about his grandma with great affection and humour and told me that he felt content that there was nothing left to say to her, because he had said it all: she knew he loved her and valued her, as he knew she loved and valued him, and that was enough for both of them. He was right.
So, please, the next time your heart fills with love, respect, whatever it is, for any person in your life – make the time to stop and say it, don’t be shy or embarrassed, even if they tease you or receive it less than gracefully, just seize the day…