Friday, July 8, 2016

The Things We Need To Say

When I was a kid, my mom would always tell me that time goes by a lot faster when you are older. I would always laugh (and probably roll my eyes) and tell her she was wrong. Then of course, I grew up and had kids of my own. And suddenly one day I realized that what she said was true. Time really does go by faster when you are older. Go figure, my mom actually knew what she was talking about. As painful as it was to do, I picked up the phone and called her and told her as much. I'm sure she didn't stop grinning for a month.

Even though I knew my mother was right, I didn't truly appreciate the value of time until after Dan died. It was then that I realized I had spent most of my adult life waiting for time to pass. Waiting for the next posting message. Waiting for the course to be over. Waiting for deployment to end. Waiting for the house to sell. Waiting for the kids to be out of diapers. Waiting for them to start school. It's very sobering when you realize you've spent most of your life waiting for your time to be gone.

Time that I will never, ever get back.

Sometimes you never realize the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

I write (and speak) about time a lot. Because it is one of the most important lessons I've learned in the last two years: to never take my time for granted. 

It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day stresses of work and raising families, in the waiting, that we lose sight of this valuable lesson. Sometimes even I slip and forget, until a harsh wake up call reminds me. When my neighbour dies of cancer at 61. When my friends lose a friend to a heart attack at 49. When my friends' daughter suffers a sudden, life altering illness. All tragic reminders that life can change on a dime and that we can never, ever take it for granted.

The trouble with time is you always think you have more. Until you don't.

The other day I posted a link to an article on my Facebook page:

  • I love you
  • I'm sorry
  • I understand how you feel
  • I believe in you
  • I'm scared
  • No
  • Thank you

Such important things to say, but things that many of us struggle with saying. Often we put off saying them because they are difficult to say. It's hard to admit we've been wrong or that we're scared. It's hard to say no. Or to tell someone that we love them.

I've said these things more over the last two years then I ever have before. Because I am very mindful that I might never get the opportunity to say them again.

The truth is I am scared sometimes. Scared of that god damn snake I stepped on when I was walking the dog (seriously 3000 acres of dykes and I put my foot down on a snake. It was dead, incidentally. I'm not sure if it was from me stepping on it or not). Scared that I might spend the rest of my life alone in this big old house. Scared that I will mess everything up.

I've never been a widow before, I've never been a single mother before, I've never even really had to date before. And well, you don't know what you don't know. Often, I don't know what I'm supposed to say or do. And sometimes I end up saying or doing the wrong things. But I have learned it's okay that I make mistakes, we all make mistakes. And it's okay that I don't have all the answers, I'm not supposed to. No one does.

Fortunately, I have the most amazing friends, friends who are always there for me, even when I screw up. I'm so incredibly thankful for you. I actually don't know what I'd do without you. I can't thank you enough; for always being there for me, for always listening to me natter and for being my shoulder to cry on, and also for kicking me in the ass when I need it the most.

My three kiddos have heard me say all of these things (and more) many, many times. We discuss them a lot. They know that I actually don't know what I'm doing sometimes (well, a lot of the time. I just make it up as I go along). They also know I do the best I can until I know better and then I (try) to do better. They know because I'm honest with them. Because we discuss it. And yes sometimes our discussions even illicit some eye rolling (it's okay K, if we're lucky someday you will be able to call me to tell me I was actually right, and I was, of course). 

And I tell my kids I love them every, single day.

These are things we all need to say, while we can, before it's too late.

I don't want to spend the rest of my life wishing I had told someone how much they meant to me. Or how much I appreciated them. Or how much I missed them. And that should also be on the list.

  • I miss you

The people we care about need to know that we feel their absence when they aren't with us. We can't always be with our people, especially when we live in different provinces (or countries) but we can let them know we miss them. And how much we value the time we do get to spend with them.

It only takes a few seconds to send someone a message to say thank you or to tell them that we love them, or that we miss them or just that we are thinking of them. And yet often we don't make the time. We don't pick up the phone to call because we are just too damn busy, with work and life. We'll do it tomorrow.

Only, sometimes, there is no tomorrow. And you didn't say the things you needed to say.

Instead, you are left with a lifetime of regret.

The very last text I sent Dan was "Eaves trough is up!"

Not I miss you or I love you.  Because I didn't know that would be the very last thing I ever got to say to him. I thought I had all of the time in the world to say all of the things I needed to say.

The trouble is you always think you have more time to say the things you need to say. Until you don't.

I'm sorry (the garage is a mess). Thanks (for putting up with me for all of these years). I miss you.

The eaves trough is up.

It takes two seconds to say I love you.

Say it as often as you can while you still have the chance.

Because you never know when that chance will be gone.

It only takes two seconds.

I love you.

"The regret of my life is that I have not said 'I love you' often enough"~ Yoko Ono
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  1. It's funny how we remember the last thing we say to our loved ones before we can't say anything to them. Mine was: your sandwich is in the counter, hurry up or you'll miss the bus! - to my little sister. ❤️

    1. I don't think we ever will forget those words my friend. I will never know if Dan even read that text, I think that will always bother me. xo

  2. So true Monnie. The older we become the more we realize the swift passage of time. In the end, all we will remember are those we loved and those who loved us in return. XX

    1. You are so right, and in the end those are the only things that truly matter. xo

  3. Very true. I always try and say "I love you" even when I'm mad or upset. It's usually the last thing I say at night. XOXOXO


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