Monthly Archives: April 2015

Speak To The Living

We all heard an amazing eulogy read at a funeral, read an inspiring obituary in the newspaper that caused us to wish we had met a complete stranger, or perhaps we have even posted on social media to a deceased loved one.

We speak so well of the dead, and we write so many heartfelt thoughts after a loved one has passed. A healthy part of grief is to share with others how much that person meant to us.

During this past Christmas season, a dear friend of mine and of many in the local community passed away very unexpectedly from a health condition. She was only in her early 30s. While it was amazing to read the outpouring of posts on Facebook to and about my sweet friend and contribute some of my own, I found what I am sure so many others have also – I wished I had gotten to know her even better when she passed, spent just a little more time with her, given her just a few more compliments. In fact, my friend who passed away was so good at doing just that – she was truly an example of someone who spoke LIFE into people’s lives. It didn’t matter whether she’d known them for years or just for a few minutes – with a smile that truly lit up the room and arms that were always open for a hug, she always complimented others and showed a genuine concern for how their lives were going and how she could help make their lives easier.

Unfortunately, there will always be words left unsaid that we only think of after a loved one has passed. However, we can work to change our lifestyle and learn to speak words of kindness and love to the living, while they are here with us. No matter what the age of a person, we never know how long they – or even ourselves – will be here on this earth, so it is important to tell our friends and family how much they mean to us now.

I have recently begun to take up once again the old art of letter writing – yes, “snail mail.” My friends are probably at first a bit curious as to why I am texting them asking for their address, ha! I have found that it’s a great way to make someone’s day a bit better (after all, who doesn’t love personal mail in their mailbox? And who gets any of that these days?), and to tell them how much they mean without them feeling uncomfortable receiving a compliment face to face.

Wondering what to say to your friend to tell them how much they mean to you? Well, you can always thank them for a particular instance where you remember their kindness, or you can think of something you’ve always liked about them. For example, today I wrote a friend letting her know that “I have always appreciated your enthusiasm for unique shapes, patterns, and textures in the world around you and your ability to translate that into art.” You don’t have to craft your sentence that elaborately if you’re not a writer, but think for a moment how to get your favorite aspects of your friend or family member across to them. Why wait until everyone is gone to say how much they mean to you?

I want to challenge you to write one handwritten letter to someone this week, letting them know how they have played a part in your life or thanking them for something they did for you. Trust me, it will be well-received. After all, everyone loves “snail mail” that’s not a bill or an advertisement! 😊

Tick tock!

Throughout the past few days, I have been spending time going through photo albums from my childhood (yes, the pictures were taken on film!) so that I can photograph them and upload them to my personal Facebook page to ensure they are both preserved digitally (eventually I plan to get them onto my external harddrive as well), and shared with family and friends who either haven’t seen these photos in decades or have never even seen photos of my childhood. This has been fun, somewhat time consuming, and has also been cause for a lot of remembrance of times past.

As I reflect upon the stories told by each photograph, I sometimes smile, laugh out loud, and even get a little misty eyed here and there. See, from the early 1990s until now actually spans over two decades. To those of you who are a bit more advanced in years, this may not seem like that long of a time period, but to me, it’s my life so far, which seems like a fairly long time to me personally!

A lot happens in over two decades. Neighbors and childhood friends may come and go, trees grow taller, people grow taller and get older, houses get painted different colors, some stores close down, some vacant lots are cleared to make room for new stores or subdivisions, and dear older relatives and friends pass away. In fact, I hadn’t realized quite how many amazing people I knew so well and loved so much during my childhood are no longer just a phone call, letter, or visit away anymore.

This side of eternity, I won’t ever get to eat spaghetti with, shop with, laugh with, smell beautiful yellow roses with, enjoy looking at the window at brilliantly red cardinals, or take trips to see other family members with Grammie (my maternal grandmother) anymore. I won’t ever get to feed the ducks at Stanley Park in Massachusetts with or walk the brookside trail in Russell, MA with Great Uncle Friz or Great Aunt Lena (my maternal grandfather’s sister and her husband) ever again. I won’t get to sew with a church friend of ours, Mrs. B., again or borrow the Disney classic “Polyanna” on VHS from Mr. & Mrs. Woodruff across the street.

This brings tears to my eyes, but then I realize that I can still do most of those things, but only with the memories of those who used to join me instead of their physical presence.

Whether we feel ready or not, as it has been said, “time marches on.” Photos are a great way to bring back sweet memories, but I think it’s also important to make new memories each day with the ones we love who are still here with us and enjoy the time we still have with them.

Don’t sit idly while time passes you by or focus so much on the past that you don’t create any new memories. Don’t ever forget the loved ones who have passed on, but remember that there are more people who are alive right now who need your love and want quality time with you.