Every once in a while, the phone rings, bringing unexpected news that draws a dark curtain across a happy day and pierces our hearts with the somber announcement. We have all experienced the death of a special person in our lives—a special aunt or uncle, a friend, or an elderly parent. These all hurt, but when the death is sudden, there had been no indication of any health issues, and we have had no time to prepare, then that death is even harder to accept than one after a long, serious illness.
This has happened with our family’s favorite cousin, our friend’s young son, and now most recently, to a very special father, who was connected to our family through Casey. When I heard the news, the shock sucked all the life from me. I was speechless, and later I cried. This time, like always, I thought about my last moment with him.
My moment with my cousin always makes me smile, because as I have told you many times, it was a smile followed by the exchange of the peace sign while we were at church. My friend’s son I had only met once, so my moment with him was a casual “nice to meet you.” For that special father, it was a warm hug after a pleasant Thanksgiving weekend.
I have thought a lot about my last moments with each of you, and while we usually say goodbye with a hug, I rarely say, “I love you.”
Why is that? I remember sitting with all of you in my rocking chair and feeling that overwhelming love that you all may think you understand, but I contend that you really don’t until you become a mother. When you were babies, I used sing to you my own version of Brahms Lullaby:
I love you, yes I do
Don’t you know I love (fill in the name)
Honey cutie sweetie pie
How I am in love with you….
Sometime—I don’t know exactly when—I stopped saying it often enough. Maybe it’s because Grandma and Grandpa didn’t say it much either, although I never felt unloved. I’m not a fan of the casual “luv ya,” which I have observed people saying to people they clearly don’t know enough to love. But I need to start vocalizing it with you.
I listened to Bryce tell me that he loved his family, and later thought about it much more after the most recent death of that special father this past weekend. I surely don’t want my last words to you to be “Go Cocks” or “Got to Go.” If my last words to you were “I am proud of you,” then I think that would be a nice farewell memory.
So for me, I think what you may hear coming from my mouth as an alternative may be an expression of pride, or summary of our day together, like when Bryce said, “I am having a lot of fun.”
What happened this weekend made me think about the fact that you don’t always know when that last moment will be, so I want it to be good. I love each of you and am proud of you too!