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In An Instant

Posted Jan 31 2011 12:00am




The post slated for today was going to be the beginning of an ongoing topic conversation based on maintaining relationships with different people in your life. I actually wrote it Saturday morning. Once the post was done, we (the boyfriend and I) took the dogs to the river, just as we do every day. Then the phone rang.  (If you have ever gotten one of those phone calls, you know how much of a nemesis the phone can be at times.)

A good friend of ours had flown back to the Midwest to be with his family earlier this week. His brother had passed away unexpectedly on Monday and the family needed to be together. If that was not bad enough, the information that was relayed over this phone call was even worse. His mother had suffered a severe heart attack earlier this morning, and she too had passed.  Two family members in one week…

Rewind two months ago, right after Thanksgiving of this year.  My dear cousin and his good friend, both in their mid-twenties, were spending an average morning outside the home of my cousin’s friend. In a split moment, the family dog bolted across the street. Fearing that the dog may be hit by a vehicle, the boys set out to catch the runaway dog.  As the boys searched for the family dog, a small car rounded the corner of the street. The car, not seeing the boys, hit my cousin’s friend.  Within moments, he was gone. One split moment. A single flinch. A blink of an eye can change your life and the life of those around you. Forever.

Now, I don’t share these awful experiences with you to make the rest of your day a bummer. Just the opposite. I know it sounds very cliché, but you never how long you or a loved one have on this earth.  How many of you have something you would like to say to someone, but aren’t sure how to say it? Too embarrassing? A little awkward? I don’t want them to thing I’m weird! I portray myself as too masculine to get away with saying that. It doesn’t matter that much…I’ll tell them later…

I have spoken with several friends and acquaintances about The Great Death Debate. What is this, you ask? The Debate is this: Is it easier to be aware that your loved one is dying or is it easier if it is a sudden death (heart attack, stroke, accident)?  The debate always ends with “At least you knew the end was near and you were able to tell them everything you wanted to tell them. You were able to say you final good-byes.”

If “you were able to tell them everything you wanted” is the best argument for this debate, it leaves the question; why does someone need to be dying to “tell them everything you would like to tell them”? Honestly! This is absurd!

I challenge each of you to take a long look at yourself and your relationships. Do you express yourself clearly? Do your loved ones know you loved them? Probably…but have you told them that you care about them recently? Or do you assume they know?

How about the negative? Is there any lingering, mild grudges which needs to be resolved? Something that once out on the table will probably not be as bad as you have been making it out to be? Take care of it; the opportunity may be taken from you in an instant.

Say what you need (or want) to say.

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