My stepfather FREQUENTLY told me that “You never know what will happen” and that I should tell the people I am close to that I love them as much as possible. And then on the evening of July 3, 2007, he went to sleep and never woke up.
In recent weeks, I have seen multiple posts on social media about people passing away; people in both the larger world spotlight and in smaller, community and family-centered spotlights.
One of those people was a friend of my husband’s, who, 3 days before passing, was at our house sharing a conversation with my husband about playing music together more frequently in the future. It was remarked that “We’ll have time”. Since experiencing this loss, my husband has made a point of telling every friend and family member that he loves them. He has been reaching out to people that he hasn’t spoken to in a while to tell them that he loves them. He tells basically everyone that he talks to that he loves them. When he was told he had the wrong number, he even told that guy that he loved him. And it makes my heart happy.
This is exactly what our world needs. This is exactly what our hearts need. More love.
Sure, some of the people react with some discomfort and stumble over an obligatory “um, love you too, man” or just “thanks”. It may be a little awkward at first, but please believe me when I say that it is much more difficult to deal with knowing that you didn’t tell someone you love them when you had the chance. And that takes a lot longer to get over than the brief awkwardness of a random “I love you”.
(Hey, just because he is a Transformer doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have wise things to say…)
It makes me wonder about why we get so uncomfortable and hesitant to tell others that we care about them. And I think the answer lies in looking at vulnerability. Horrors, I know.
Brene’ Brown (one of my personal heroes) states in her amazing book, Daring Greatly,
“Vulnerability is at the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.”
“Connection is why we are here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”
In working with patients diagnosed with severe depression, a common theme is isolation and withdrawal. It can be hard to tell which came first- the isolation or the depression- but it is not hard to see that isolation does nothing to help the patient feel less depressed.
Hearing my husband and his friends sharing the love and reconnecting on this level has been so refreshing and healing for him, and I am sure for all of them. We know the sayings, ‘Everything can change in an instant’ or ‘We are never promised tomorrow’, but truly, people, we aren’t. (Refer to previous blog entitled We Are All Gonna Die…) And of course, there are lots of ways to tell someone that you love them, so choose your own adventure there, but do it.
What is holding you back, anyway? They may not say they love you too? Ok, so what. You got your feelings out in the open and you don’t have to worry that they never knew. Someone else might overhear? Ok, so what. We NEED to hear more love messages. You may feel uncomfortable? Eh, that will pass. You may get made fun of? If your friends are like mine, that is just a way of coping with the awkwardness. And…they will probably find something else to make fun of you for if not this…
So, get out there. Spread the love. Make the world a more loving place. Be vulnerable. Don’t take the chance on waiting until “later”. Let love do it’s thing in connecting us to each other. It’s what we are here for.
I love you guys.