The other day my best friend, nearly two thousand miles away, watched as his mom slipped away. My heart aches for the pain he feels. This digital world we live in eases so many burdens but it cannot match the warmth of a love-filled hug or a quick hand squeeze just to say you are not alone.
When a loss occurs we struggle with the right things to say and the right actions. I’ve read many suggestions and heeded the warnings of many but there is just no cookie cutter way to handle it. Some people think avoiding it is the best approach, others think forcing one to deal with it is best, yet others still say the first thing that comes to mind. While I’m no expert I know I could not ignore it if I tried. The pain of his loss sits in the pit of my stomach threatening to throw me into a fit of tears. I am not sure if it is because of the freshness of my own families loss or if it has more to do with the close nature of our friendship.
Over the span of 16 or so years, we have laughed over stupid decisions, cried through the loss of relationships/friendships, lost touch, and caught up again only to grow closer through even more. I had the pleasure of watching him distance himself from God and then draw closer than before. He has coached me through bouts of depression and always provided a safe space to openly vent and cry.
Though we did not grow up nor attend school together, his loss is also my loss. I write this not for you to feel saddened or “sorry” for our loss but instead to encourage you to take advantage of the time you have left with those you love. Time is “too soon to come” to waste energy being too proud to say I love you, I’m sorry, or giving too much time to those who do not value you.
If you close your eyes tonight and never open them again, who will miss you? Who will want more time with you? Conversely, who could close their eyes tonight and never open them again, that you would wish you could have just 5 more minutes with?
For me, it is my family, especially my mom. So, I do everything I can to be there when she calls. Sometimes, I feel like I am not working hard enough to make her proud of me, then I remember she loved me before I ever said a word. That gives me the encouragement to keep going. I know she is proud of me, I am her daughter. Often we hold ourselves to these crazy standards and think folks are privy to our self-created personal prisons. Give yourself permission to step out of the prison and just live.
Life is too short to live it disconnected from the people and things that matter most. I am not saying to quit your job and you know doggone well it pays the bills. However, I am saying tomorrow is not promised find ways to be present in the moment, love hard, love fully, and be a true friend so you can appreciate true friendships and the depth of the love of a true friend.