Every so often when I hear of tragedy in the media it stops me in my tracks and forces me to have a moment of reflection. Each time there is a tragedy, there are loved ones left alone in a wake of grief. I always say a silent prayer for the families, hoping they have no regrets of the final days spent with their loved one.
Fortunately for me, tragedy in my family has limited itself to the passing of a loved one after they’ve lived to a ripe old age.
But not everyone is that lucky.
I remember in 2001, in my hometown, at a rural intersection on a gravel road, two people met in an unfortunate circumstance. For both, the events of a routine day were changed dramatically–for one, that day changed their life forever.
An 18-year-old boy drove through a stop sign on a rural road and collided with a vehicle he couldn’t see over the tall corn fields. A light shower the previous night wet the road enough so that dust was not evident by either vehicle.
The two vehicles collided and were thrown into a nearby ditch. One man only received minor injuries. The other lost his life.
Being a new mom to, at that time, a one-year-old son, that news profoundly affected me. I shuddered at the thought that a woman somewhere was receiving a call that has to be a mother’s worst nightmare–from the sheriff’s department telling her the news and asking which funeral home should be contacted.
That day, as the world went about its business, a mother began the grieving process for her son. That day the world kept going while her world stopped.
That day the boy’s mother had probably kissed him goodbye, expecting to see him after work or from wherever he was going. That day she probably planned her own day’s events without even a doubt she would ever get to hold her son alive again.
If only we could foresee the future and live each day as if it were our last. How often do we take that for granted?
From that day forward, I promised myself that no matter how busy I get, or how distracted I may be or angry I might be at a loved one, I don’t ever want to go about my day without those I love knowing how very much I love them.
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Some days are very hectic and when I’m running late, scrambling to get out the door, it could be so easy to forget to kiss the ones I love.
One morning my husband left the house in a rush and before I managed to stop him to say goodbye. That evening I told him I was upset that sometimes in the morning we get to be in such a hurry to begin our days, that we forget to take a moment to hug and kiss our loved ones.
I asked him, “Would you have time to kiss me before you left for work if you knew it was the last time you’d see me?”
He answered that of course he would.
“But we don’t know when our last kiss will come and I would hate for it to be a day when one of us is running late and decided it could wait until we got home. By that time it may be too late,” I said to him.
After that conversation, not a day has gone by that I have missed a kiss from my husband. Even when I’m angry at him I will tell him how much I love him. There is never a time when I end a phone call with my kids without telling them how much I love and appreciate them.
No matter how late we are our how busy our lives become, nothing is more important than telling the ones we love how much we truly do care.