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October 28, 2006

THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE...Cherish your loved ones now--tomorrow may never come

As I sit in my father's hospital room I'm struck by how fast everything is happening. Although he has had a progressive illness for several years, he's been fairly strong and healthy. A part of me thought he'd be around another several years.

Last week that began to change. He fell, was in the hospital, and was transferred to rehab for a few days. As of Monday night it seemed he was going to be okay but I decided to fly in to see him. Upon my arrival, I was told he cannot eat without a feeding tube. He refused the feeding tube. We brought him home yesterday with hospice care.

My daughter had said to me several months ago that she really wanted to see "Nono" one more time before he died. I thought we had at least a year or two. Our family had planned to visit this Thanksgiving.

I almost didn't fly down yesterday because it seemed he was going to get better. Fortunatley I did. I don't know how much longer my father has but I do know I'm glad I'm able to be here while he's still coherent. I'm glad I didn't wait until it was too late to tell him the things I needed to say. He keeps repeating to me and each of my siblings, "I love you and your whole family"...I'm glad we're here for him to tell us what he needs to say.

I'm so aware that things can change in the blink of an eye. If you were to die tomorrow is there anything you wish you would have said to your loved ones? If so, say it now. You can always repeat it later and if you don't have the opportunity later, then you can rest peacefully knowing that you've said what you've needed to now.

I, of course, will be calling my husband and children tonight and telling them how much I love them with all my heart. Who will you call?

Challenge: If a loved one were to die tomorrow, would you regret not telling him/her something? If so, take the time to make a call, write a letter, or drop an e-mail. Chances are he/she will feel better and so will you.


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dear Lisa, so glad of your straight talk! You are RIGHT ON.
I am reading about your dad's passing. You point out that the amount of grief we feel is relative to the closeness we had-- that resonates so strongly with the death of my Mom! I was there for her last 10 days, alone together in an old folks' home. I'm so grateful for that time, and for all she gave me-- QUITE A BIT... but... did not grieve. She could not relate to who I really am (not one to 'meet the Queen", but an iconoclastic bohemian). So there was distance. I'd always been uncomfortable with both the distance and the lack of grief: thanks to your words, I see now that one had caused the other.
Love & gratitude to you~

Lisa my prayers go to you and your family at this time. Thank you for the courage to use your personal story to give us all a poignant reminder. This year I've had two loved ones die suddenly -- one at age 49, one at 32 -- so I'm "getting the message" one more time. Peace to you and your family...and to all others in similar shoes right now.

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