We have all lost someone close to us at some point in our lives. A loss is a sad thing and generally it’s only when we have experienced loss that we appreciate life. But how can we fully appreciate life, when we don’t take full advantage of the time we have? Four years ago today a friend of mine passed away at the age of 18 which is way too young. Also, at the end of January three years ago, I lost my grandfather who was one of the greatest men I have known. From their deaths, I have learned quite a few things about the precious gift called life.
Many times we are too late to tell someone just how much we love and appreciate them. It’s as if we are too shy to tell them just how we feel but then we feel so much guilt when we didn’t pluck up the courage to tell them how much they meant in our lives. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it so hard to say, “Hey, I love you and you have impacted my life so much, thank you.” When it’s true, why is it so difficult to say? It’s bizarre to think that we rarely tell the people around us how much they have changed our lives and how we just assume that they know.
My advice is a simple line from a song by The Script, “We gotta tell em that we love em while we have the chance to say it gotta live like we’re dying.” Simple but true. We have been given only so much time in the physical world and it’s important to make the most of it. When you look back on your life, would you be proud of the person that you became? Would you be proud of the things you’ve accomplished? Could you honestly tell yourself that you had impacted lives in a good way? Did you enjoy your life to the fullest and experience everything that you wanted to? Did you say everything you wanted to say?
Learn to say what you feel. I can’t stress how important this is. No one can truly tell how you are feeling if you keep it bottled up inside. Tell someone if they make you happy or if they make you upset just let them know that you still care about them and love them all the same. Never go to bed angry and never wake up with hatred. Go to bed with love and forgiveness and wake up with compassion and understanding. Say what is important to you because if it is important to you then it is important. Share your opinion with others and let your voice be heard. Words leave a huge imprint on the hearts and minds of others. Be mindful however, that words stick permanently and be certain they are not hurtful to others.
Also, be sure you spend as much time with these people as possible. You never know when you’re going to lose someone or when your time will run out. It could be years from now or it could be tomorrow for all you know. Because these people are so close to you, you can learn a lot from them. A different perspective, a new approach or even a new found admiration for something you didn’t take a second glance at before. Time is precious and we should take advantage of the time we have with loved ones.
As hard as it may seem, just push your boundaries and tell the people you love how much they mean to you. If I could go back in time, I would tell my friend just how much it meant to me that he accepted me even when I wasn’t the most popular kid in school. I would love to have told him that his warm acceptance, kindness and humor touched many people in our community. Finding a good heart like that is difficult to come by. If I could talk to my grandfather just once more, I would apologize for not making that phone call when I came back from Greece. I would tell him what a great role model he was and how rare it is to find a man like him who doesn’t badmouth a single soul. Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve, it’s too late now to tell them how much they meant now but it isn’t too late to tell those still around you. Just because you’ve lost some doesn’t mean you’ve lost all and I would bet there are still people in your life who love you very much, even if they haven’t had the courage to come out and say it.
Tell those around you just how important they are, or simply tell them you love them. It only takes three words, I love you, I appreciate you, I admire you, I accept you. Tell them what they mean to you and it will stay with them for a lifetime. It means the world to me when someone lets me know how much they appreciate me and how glad they are to have me in their life, so why not spread that good feeling around. Make someone feel good about the kindness they have shared and that kindness will most certainly continue. Pass along a kind word and maybe, just maybe, we can make this world a better place. Now, go tell someone you love them.
“When I look back on my life, I want to know that I lived, loved and inspired” -Katelyn Caruso-Sharpe
*This post is dedicated to my grandfather, Louis C. who showed me unconditional love and taught be how to be a kind and respectable person and my friend Sean D. who showed me extreme kindness when others did not. May you both find eternal happiness in heaven. Fly high <3