There have been two “lasts” that have forever changed the way I view time. Conversations filled with last words and final looks. In spite of those moments, I am still guilty of taking things for granted. I am human, imperfect and regretful. The concept of living a life with no regrets is flawed because in most cases it takes the realization of loss to understand the blessings.
The Last Words Spoken…
My grandfather, a man of very few words and even less outward emotion, paused in the kitchen after I explained that my husband and I were moving. Not down the street, but away from our island home to the bustling mainland. We were always so close, my grandpa and I. He was already ill and suffering from severe memory loss, but in these moments he was clearer than I had seen in years.
When we left my father’s house that day, he ran, literally ran to give me one more hug. I soaked it in, trying to fight back my tears, while he freely let his flow. To feel that loved is indescribable. A little over a year after our big move, he passed away. That moment of clarity where he wished us well on our new journey and showed his emotions left us little doubt his love for us.
Do I do the same for others? It doesn’t matter if it will be our last conversation, do I leave others feeling filled when they walk away?
My father, a man who had softened through the years, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. We had spent years building our relationship, which made all the difference when it was time to say good-bye. I knew the day would come where his body would stop fighting the disease, the day that he’d finally be released from its grips.
We filled the days talking on the phone and sending each other e-mails. We shared our day, our struggles and wins. It was December of 2008 when I flew down against his wishes. It was time. My little girl and husband stayed back in Arizona, as I spent a week sitting by his bedside. We talked for hours, sometimes being silly and other times we talked to heal old wounds. It was perfect, yet heartbreaking.
When it was time for me to go home, we looked at each other knowing this would be our last moment together. Our last hug, last butterfly kiss, our last “I love you.” We weren’t okay with it, but we accepted it. The day after Christmas, I got the call that he had passed away.
Have I left any open wounds? Have I said everything I needed to say to those I love?
Most days I live in the hustle and bustle of normal life. Then there are days, where the void is heavy. I can’t pick up the phone and hear their voices. When we fly back to Hawaii we won’t be visiting them to catch up and talk story. Our last words have been spoken, our last embrace felt.
The legacy of those “lasts” aren’t forgotten. Make the most of every moment, pick up the phone even if it’s for a quick, “Hello, I’m thinking about you. I love you!” Make the time to speak your mind, share your thoughts and express your feelings. We all get one shot at life, make it meaningful.
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