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“In between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed.”

~Sid Caeser

Do It Today – Life May Be Short

JUST DO IT. is Nike’s tagline that challenges each of us to act, today.  Now.  Don’t wait, just do it.  Whatever that “It” is for you.  Of course, they want it to involve new shoes, but that’s ok.  The point is right.

Just Do It (stylized as JUST DO IT.)[1] is a trademark of shoe company Nike, and one of the core components of Nike’s brand.

We Lost Her is a book about my mother’s tragic death and how her death impacted our family.   The book includes five learnings from the experience of losing her, and the second learning I’ll discuss with you in this post has a little different interpretation of “Do It” than Nike does. From Chapter 17:

“Second, life is short, so don’t waste a day.  Our lives may be short or long, we just don’t know.  Each day counts as it may be our last.  Don’t count on tomorrow to tell those you love that you do.  Do it today. My siblings each expressed their realization of the importance of each day, each moment.”

Basically, the learning my siblings and I all had is to live and love without regret for how we speak to and treat each other. To not regret harsh, mean words that are said, not recognizing you may never get the chance to apologize.  And that can be any day, any moment, we just don’t know.  My siblings and I are far from perfect in the application of this learning, but we are more aware of each day’s importance because we lost Mom so young.

All of us (except Dan, who was the youngest and has few memories of her death), remember our last words with our mother that night.  My younger sister, Betty, remembers vividly Mom’s last words to her, from We Lost Her, Chapter 13:

“Betty does remember her last conversation with Mom before she went to the hospital.  Her labor had started at home on the evening of September 25th and her contractions were getting closer together as Gary came in from the field to take Mom to the hospital.  One hit Mom in the kitchen and she winced in pain.  “Mom yelled at me meanly, ‘What are you looking at?’ when I stared at her, not knowing what was happening,” Betty recalls.  Sadly, those were Mom’s last words to her. “ 

Sometimes what is unsaid is more impactful than what is said. You just never know which time, in all the regular moments in the every-day kind of days, which will be the last time you see that person you love.  My words to Mom the night she died were not unkind, just not meaningful, not what I wished I would have said – from We Lost Her, Chapter 17:

“I still regret my words to Mom the last time I saw her, as they drove away to the hospital that fateful night in 1970.  If I’d known it was the last time I’d ever see her, I’d have said, “Thank you for being such a good Mom,” or a simple “I love you, Mom.” But no, I said that stupid “tie up the score” quip.  My last words to the person I loved so much were so shallow.”  

Heartlinks Grief Center helps grieving families open the dialogue about grief, about how they feel, what was said and unsaid to the person they lost, in their last minutes and in their life together. They enable families to talk about the feelings of sadness and loss, and that act of sharing and talking can start the healing process.  If you are grieving or know those who need help in their grief journey, refer them to a grief center, pastor, or resource that can start the dialogue.

The challenge for this week as we prepare for Christmas and the blessed holiday season is to be purposeful with our words to those we love.  Intentional.  Think about how you would feel if this was the last time you saw the person. “What would you want them to know, what should you say to them?” 

Then, “Do It.”  Don’t waste a day. Because life may be short and we just don’t know which words will be the last ones.

We grow stronger together.

Be blessed,

Ellen