When a loved one starts saying things like, “I don’t think I’m going to be around much longer,” listen. Especially the elderly, for they tend to know when their hourglass is close to empty. My mother said that 88 was her “last birthday.” It was her last birthday. My father said he had “no aspirations to see ninety.” He died at 89. Even though the world was in the turmoil of a pandemic, my mother-in-law insisted on cooking Thanksgiving dinner for her family because she “might not be here next Thanksgiving.” She won’t be. She contracted COVID-19, and her little body simply couldn’t stop it from destroying what was left of her kidney function. Although losing her was, and is, devastating for her family, many friends and her church community, I am grateful that my mother-in-law had the gumption and tenacity to cook that Thanksgiving dinner for us, her last one.
While it is human nature to think there is more time, or “always tomorrow,” please do not dismiss the cues from the people you love!! Their words are not trivial statements in search of attention, or sympathy. And, even if they are, the time you give to them is never wasted. You must do what you can live with for the rest of your life, regardless of your fatigue from a grueling work week, or the favoite TV show that you might miss. That’s what a DVR is for, use it!
I cannot stress this enough: LISTEN, when loved ones are telling you that they are running out of time, precious time!! Don’t say, “I’ll go over and see them this weekend, I’m just too tired.” Go. Now! There isn’t always tomorrow, or later, and that’s the biggest regret of those surviving the loss of a loved one — the I should’ves that will consume your conscience when they’ve died and you realize all the time you could have/should have spent with them, but didn’t.
You’ll never regret spending that precious time with your loved one, even if it’s only 30 minutes, for it will serve as a warm, comforting hug to your broken heart when they leave you with only your memories.