When I speak with people who are caring for a loved one with a terminal illness, there are two pieces of advice I always give: 1. end every interaction with “I love you,” and 2. forgive any past issues. I didn’t take the chance to do those two things and it has troubled my soul for years.
I remember walking into Cindy’s room the morning she passed away. She didn’t have a terminal illness. She was just recovering from some surgery and was expected to be home in just a few days. Still, here we were.
As I walked through the door and saw my beloved bride “sleeping” in her bed, knowing that this was a sleep from which she would never wake, a tidal wave of emotion swept over me. I instantly recalled my last words to her before I left for home the previous evening. They were, “I’ll see you tomorrow” and not “I love you.” She left this world knowing I loved her, didn’t she?
I also recalled every silly argument we’d had that had never been formally settled.
As I knelt by her bedside and held her hand, I said “I love you, Baby Doll and all is forgiven. I just hope you were able to forgive me before you passed.”
I know that Cindy knew that I loved her, and I still love her. I just wished that I had said it. Why didn’t I say it? People have told me that I’m being too hard on myself because I didn’t know she would pass away that day; it was totally unexpected. Still, that excuse rings hollow. A person shouldn’t have to be standing at the doorway of eternity to be told that you love him or her. That reassurance should come every day.
On second thought, this advice isn’t just for those caring for loved ones with a terminal illness; it’s for everyone who has loved ones. Tell them every day that you love them and put silly disagreements to bed and forgive.
May God bless you richly.