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! 😊