Ever since Amy and I were 19 and 18 we never end a phone call or say goodbye to each other without telling the other, “I love you”. It is such a habit that it is the last thing we always say to each other, that on the odd occasion one of us forgets, we immediately call back just to say it. It feels so weird that we realize it right away and it just feels awkward or incomplete. What is now a habit was probably started from some fear of that last thing we said to each other being negative.
As I sit here writing this, my mother is home on hospice care. She has been in and out of a coma the last two days. I had a trip planned in 3 weeks to go see her. We planned on spending a week in Panama City Beach at a friend’s vacation home. That has always been a happy place for My mom and dad and I growing up. Sadly that seems like that plan is gone and will be replaced by a trip this week to see her at home. There is something. . . morbid . . . about scheduling a visit to see someone for the last time and knowing it. I have many friends and acquaintances who would have done anything to make that trip, but I wonder if they really weighed to burden. The last time I spoke to my mom, she was in the hospital waiting to be released to hospice. We laughed and cried. We told each other how much we loved each other. She told me that she was ready and more concerned for all of those she was leaving behind. She worried for them and spoke of going home to be with God. I am going to see her again soon, but if for some reason something happens before I can, I know that our last conversation was a complete one. I left nothing unsaid. No regrets.
At times like this we are reminded of our mortality and of the things in this life that really matter. I had a friend that was in a car accident a couple weeks ago and as she was recounting the details to me she quoted our mantra back to me. “Memories over things.” Through a serious accident, she has realized what many of us have. At the end of the day we are the culmination of our relationships and experiences. Those are what make us who we are and we should strive to nurture and protect them.
We are coming up on a season of thanksgiving. Please take time to be thankful vocally. Tell those that matter that you that love them. Tell that friend or mentor how much you appreciate them being a part of your life. Pick up the phone and call your parents and grandparents if they are still with you. They would love to hear your voice. Embarrass your children and tell them they are cherished. If you are married, tell your spouse how much you love them and how much you love the life you have created together.
Our challenge to you is to focus on making some memories. Gingerbread house competition? Pajama Saturday? Inner-tubing Griswold style in the snow? Maybe it is just having a dinner at the actual dinner table with no cell phones.
We would love to hear your traditions and ideas on how you make memories. Share in the comments.