Words. Choose wisely. They do matter. In light of 2016 where we said goodbye to way too many young and talented people in the entertainment industry, as well as enduring our own personal losses, I felt compelled to write on this topic. Posts are plentiful right now regarding how to live life fully and happily in 2017, but I am writing in a different direction.
It hurts to the core to lose someone we love, but when the relationship has been difficult, challenging, or even estranged, the deep grief that is felt can be overwhelming and incapacitating. Where there is deep grief, there was great love once whether strained or not. A friend on mine recently suffered the loss of a parent. Their relationship wasn’t on the best of terms or ideal to say the least but when another friend commented, “They weren’t that close anyway,” it left me dumbfounded. Actually that comment stung, flooding my eyes with tears. It hit home. I am sure they didn’t mean it in a malicious way. But that comment transported me back five years ago to words that were spoken to me during my loss. Words that consumed me and poisoned my soul because I have carried them with me ever since. A person will always remember how you made them feel. I know it’s awkward knowing the right thing to say when someone suffers a loss, but please be mindful of your words because words hurt and bruise the soul. Conflicted relationships can leave a person with so much private pain following a death, that outsiders just won’t comprehend, therefore making it more challenging to grieve since the understanding and support may not be there.
Someone disconnected from a loved one will forever be mourning the lost opportunity to have a healthy or a somewhat ‘normal’ relationship ever again. Feelings of sorrow and regret consume you. Death closes the door on reconciliation forever. No more chances and no more “I’ll call next week.” The opportunity to mend and forgive forever lost. Words are left unsaid. Mourning the loss after having a healthy and loving relationship is difficult enough, but at least you are left with the an arsenal of love, memories, and experiences that can bring you peace in times of need. If you’re not fortunate enough to have had that type of relationship, then your heart is forever heavy with guilt and regret. You beat yourself up about it….”You should have visited, why didn’t you call, was it really that important to not talk, there’s always another day to fix it, or you just can’t deal with it right now.” Well life is unpredictable. We are all guilty in getting so wrapped up and busy in our lives that we push things aside that make us uncomfortable and that we don’t want to deal with. We always think we have tomorrow. But this hesitation turns from days into months and sometimes even into years. On our death beds, the only regrets ever whispered are wishes that more time should have been spent with family and friends, should have loved and lived more happily, not taken life so seriously, shouldn’t have worked so hard, should have been true to myself and not lived up to others’ expectations.
Next time that friend needs you, drop everything and GO! Everything else can wait. It will be there tomorrow. Go visit that sick friend. Yes, it will be difficult and require your emotional strength, but remember it’s about them and not you. Seize the moments to experience things, don’t save it for the future which is not promised. Wear that expensive piece of jewelry stowed away in that safety deposit box. Take that long dreamt vacation to Bora Bora. Wear the fancy dress. Buy the damn shoes. Volunteer today. Write that book now. And forgive. I have been asked many times, how can I forgive my misfortunes from my earlier years. Do I ever forget, no. You see, I forgive for me. So that I can move on and not be burdened with a heavy heart and emotional baggage. It would be very easy to slip into sorrow and for some, that may be the choice because it’s familiar and therefore comfortable place to be. But I choose not to dwell and be happy.
So if not for someone else, do it for yourself. Heal your heart. Move on from your past. Pick up that phone, send a text, write an email, reach out on Facebook, but for God’s sake, do something. No matter what the outcome, you will be able to lay down at night knowing you made the effort. I promise you will feel lighter and your heart will thank you for it. Be hopeful for 2017 and live with no regrets.