I’m going to go off on a tangent unrelated to my health and this post might seem controversial, but as you all know I just say what I think based on my own experiences.
When I had severe ME in my late twenties I was told on two occasions that I was critically ill and might not make it through the night. I’ve also suffered the loss of several friends and family members as outlined in this post. For many years I’ve been acutely aware that life is fragile and it can be taken away at any moment. It’s had a profound effect on how I live.
I love to watch Mediums on TV, like John Edward, but am amazed at how many times the people he’s reading are in tears saying “I didn’t get to say goodbye”. While I totally understand this in very unexpected deaths, eg that of a child or younger adult, I’ve never really understood it when it comes to older people. The second my parents reached 60 I started to prepare myself to lose them. None of us live forever and the one certainty in life is that we’re all going to die.
If you have something to say to an older relative get it said. I don’t really do gushy, but I always buy my parents lovely birthday and Christmas cards with verses in which tell them how much I appreciate and love them. I also show how much I love them every day in everything I do for them. How much more time do you think you’re going to have? Every day when you say goodbye to an older relative realize it could be the last time. If you don’t have the relationship you would like, fix it or let it go. I let the relationship with my biological Father go when I was in my twenties, I’m at peace with my decision, and if he died tomorrow it wouldn’t even register with me. Have no regrets that are going to haunt you when they’re gone.
My Facebook feed is full of people saying how much they miss their parents. Every Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversary of a death and birthday they post how much they are thinking about their departed relative. I just don’t get this need to share grief with the entire universe. Your parents are fundamentally the most important people in your life. What do you think is going to happen when they die? You will miss them every second of the rest of your life. You will never be the same again. Why do you need to tell everyone you know this? Isn’t it bloody obvious?
I’ve been to lots of funerals. The friends and relatives stand there and give glowing eulogies telling us all how special their loved one was and how much they meant to them. I wonder just how many actually told the dead person while they were still here? I really don’t think I’ll have anything to say at my Mum’s funeral. She already knows how much she means to me. We often reminisce about her childhood and my childhood and our life experiences. For sure I’m not going to stand there and make her out to be some kind of Saint because that she most certainly is not. She’s a complex, flawed human being who’s made a ton of mistakes and some very poor choices, many of which have impacted my life in extremely negative and destructive ways. Which doesn’t mean I don’t love her and won’t miss her every second of the rest of my life. I just don’t need to tell a church full of people this because it’s only relevant to me and my Mum.
We all seem to sleepwalk through life and I don’t get it. We always think there’s going to be a tomorrow. A better day. A day to sort things out. But life isn’t like that. Today is all there is. Live it like it’s your last, or someone else’s last, because one day it will be.