The amount of love, adoration and attention that has been directed towards Michael Jackson in the days since he died has been impressive. So much so, it occurs to me that perhaps all of the love he’s received while being dead may be more than he received during the entire last ten years that he was alive.
This perception of mine might be inaccurate and unfair in regards to Michael Jackson, but, in regards to people in general, there may be some truth to the idea that we tend to under-appreciate the loved ones in our lives while they’re here.
We tend to take them for granted. We tend to assume they’ll always be here. We don’t express to them nearly enough how much we care for them and how important they are in our lives.
And then, when they’re gone, there is an effusion of love, grief and remorse as well, due to feelings that we didn’t cherish, respect, value and love them more while they were here.
So what can we do about this?
Perhaps we need to start missing our loved ones now before they’re gone, appreciating the void that would be created in our lives if they were abruptly taken from us.
And then we need to express our gratitude for having them in our lives and demonstrate our love for them while they’re still here by maximizing our loving behaviors towards them and minimizing our unloving behaviors.
We need to let go of the petty grievances that we’ve been holding against them. We need to let go of old resentments and hurts.
If we have a tendency to yell, we stop yelling. If we have a tendency to abuse them in other ways, we stop the abuse.
If our tendency is to exaggerate, misrepresent the truth, lie and deny, we stop these behaviors as well.
We stop being inconsiderate, selfish and self-centered.
We listen. We validate. We respect their boundaries.
We recognize those aspects of ourselves we need to change and we work on making those changes.
We try to anticipate problems and offer solutions, without being asked and without needing to get anything in return.
When the inevitable finally does happen and our loved ones are gone, we will still grieve and miss them deeply, but there will be the satisfaction and the peace of mind knowing that while they were here we did everything we could to create and maintain a loving relationship with them and to let them know and feel the extent of our love, respect and devotion to them.