This Mother’s Day was very different to years gone by. Instead of waking up to our usual lively house, this year it was eerily silent. Gone was that familiar voice I’d heard my whole life. Like so many others, our family spent Mother’s Day visiting a loved one at the cemetery.
Less than a month ago we suddenly lost a close family member. One day she was here living life as normal and the next day she was gone, it was that quick. Nobody got to say goodbye or have that last conversation, their final chance to say everything they’ve always wanted to tell her.
Even now, everything of hers is still in its place. It’s as if she’s just on a holiday and will come home any day now. We keep thinking she will be back to finish all that’s unfinished. But with every passing day without her around, we come closer to accepting that she has gone, never to be seen or heard again. With no new memories to make with her, she will remain frozen in time, apart of our past.
The last goodbye
When someone close to you suddenly and unexpectedly passes away, it makes you reflect on that person’s life and the type of relationship you had with them. You think about the last time you saw them and what their last words were to you. For some people, they will have have fond memories, while others may not be so lucky. But no matter how close you were to that person or how often you saw them, there’s always so many things left unsaid. Stories or questions you’ve always wanted to know and ask that you thought you had all the time in the world to do.
Grief can stir up a whole range of emotions including guilt and regret, which can be some of the most difficult to accept. You may find yourself analysing your actions and how you treated that person. Did I do enough? Could I have done more? Were they happy? These questions and their answers become more significant when that person has gone. We have regrets, if only we had known that yesterday was their last day, we would have done so much more. But by then it’s wishful thinking. It’s too late to change anything.
Don’t wait for that time to come. Start now. Take time out of your busy life to spend quality time with the people that matter the most to you, don’t put a time limit on it. Spend a whole day with them. Tell them everything you’ve wanted them to know. Let them know much you have appreciated all that they have done for you. You never know, you may not get the same opportunity again.
Reflecting on your own life
The same goes for your own life, don’t take it for granted. The shock of losing someone makes you deeply assess your own life and how you’re living it. Am I making the most out of my time? And what about all of the things I keep saying I will do and haven’t made time to do? Death puts things into perspective. It’s a reminder of our own mortality.
Facing up to the fragility of life can be scary. Most people don’t like talking about death or going to funerals because they don’t want to come face to face with their own life ending one day. Perhaps they are not ready to accept this part of life. Yet, the end of a life is a reality check and serves as a reminder to make the most of our days.
Everything in life is temporary, when good things happen be happy, celebrate and make the most out of your opportunities while you can. Be thankful for your blessings, as tomorrow is not a given. All too often it takes a traumatic event to appreciate life and what you have, it shouldn’t be that way. Schedule that trip of a lifetime, take that risk. Don’t wait until it’s too late and the opportunity is gone.