Leave nothing unsaid

February 28, 2011 at 11:13 pm 22 comments

If you’re an occasional visitor to my blog or you don’t know me well, you might assume I think everything about getting old is funny. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m actually serious most of the time and can cry at the drop of a hat. (Okay, maybe that’s menopause…who knows?)  Anyway, if you’re expecting my usual humorous post, come back some other time because “humor” isn’t on the menu today.  And if I’ve blogged about this before—well, I don’t remember doing it so I’ll blame that on menopause, too! 🙂

I’ve been thinking about serious things lately—perhaps partly because my mom would have celebrated her 82nd birthday next week. Partly, too, because I’ve been praying for my friend Greta (aka YaYa), who lost her mom not long ago, and my friend Susan, who recently learned she must have brain surgery.

I’m not sure about Greta and Susan, but I am guilty of avoiding serious conversations. Before Mom died, I didn’t tell her often enough how much I loved her. Oh, sure, she knew. But I didn’t say it enough. I didn’t tell her how much I’d miss her when she was gone. Even when she was in the hospital and still conscious, I wouldn’t let her talk about dying when she wanted to. I justified that by thinking we should remain positive, but in retrospect, I think she knew her time was up and I was unwilling to accept that.

The point of my babbling is simply to encourage you to leave nothing unsaid. Tell people you love them. Tell them what you love most about having them in your life and what memories you treasure most. Tell them something they don’t know—how you’ve secretly always wanted to write a book or that you once took belly dancing lessons. These are the conversations they’ll mentally replay over and over someday.

It doesn’t hurt to also throw in some less significant things, like your Facebook password or where the important papers are or how to load the dishwasher (if you’re like me and anal about things like that).

But please—tell them the good stuff.  Soon and often.


Entry filed under: Aging gracefully, Words of wisdom.

Clearing the clutter FAT in 3 languages

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MaryAnn  |  February 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    In October when I was in the hospital, the doctor gave me 2 – 3 days to live. He told my husband and sons to call in family and close friends. My oldest son came in to see me. I was having a lucid moment. I had the ventilator down my throat so I couldn’t talk. He brought a small dry erase board and ask me if there was anything I needed or wanted to tell him. I wrote, “Call Maria and see if she can clean my house and I’ll pay her on Monday. “. So much for my last words and thank goodness they weren’t my last. :0)

    • 2. Annski  |  February 28, 2011 at 11:57 pm

      Wow! Am happy for your recovery though I don’t know if anyone could beat your former ‘last words.’ Fun-ny.

      • 3. Susan Ferri  |  March 1, 2011 at 6:32 am

        That was your fighting spirit, MaryAnn! It worked!!

    • 4. Rita  |  March 1, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Now THAT is funny, MaryAnn! You were so very sick, but there were so many people praying for a good outcome.
      OMG, still laughing…pay her on Monday…Bwaaahhaaahhaaaa!

  • 5. Annski  |  February 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    What a lovely post. I completely agree about telling those you love how special they are in your life. I am so thankful to have great friends like you. We don’t get to ‘play’ together as much as we did, but I love keeping up with your FB posts and blogs. I’m glad fate and publishing brought us together.

    • 6. Rita  |  March 1, 2011 at 8:56 am

      Ann, like I told you last week, I miss your wit and wisdom so much! Some days the last few years, the only time I’d smile all day was when I’d get an email from you. It made work fun! You are a talented graphic designer, but writing is your other calling. You have a knack for it!

  • 7. Pj  |  March 1, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Wow! A sentimental rather than totally funny post! Variety is the spice of life….and you put spice in so many peoples lives! Thank you! Thank you for the posts…the words of wisdom….the laughs…but most of all…thank you for being such a great sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, neice (& I will speak for Burlie) wife!

    • 8. Rita  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

      PJ, we’ve been through a lot in our lives, but this summer will always stand out as memorable. The dogs dragging us all over the yard with their leashes comes to mind…I still laugh about that! Our casino trip to Okarche. Doing shots down at the pond by the campfire. And… well, you get the picture. I love you, too, and I thank you for your unconditional love, even on my bad days.

  • 9. charlee  |  March 1, 2011 at 3:33 am

    Wow. I didn’t know you had this blog, Rita. So this is the first entry I’ve read. I told my dear Mom and Glen how much I loved them all the time. You may or may not know that I lost them both within 3 months of each other. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.
    I agree, tell the people you love in your life that you love them. We never know when we may not be around to do so.

    • 10. Rita  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

      Welcome, Charlee! It’s not always so serious around here… 🙂 But I tend to write with passion, so ya never know what may turn up! I think I knew about Glen, but I didn’t realize you lost your mom during the same time. How sad! You definitely know what I mean then. Hugs to you—I always enjoy your Facebook posts and appreciate your “virtual” friendship!

  • 11. Mush  |  March 1, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Rita, thanks for the reminder. Unfortunately, most of us learn this the hard way. After it’s too late.
    I’d much rather mentally replay the “I love you conversation” over and over someday.

    • 12. Rita  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:26 am

      Mush, you are so right. Funny thing…last night after I posted here, I went and read a page from the Jeff Probst (Survivor host) blog. It was about Jenn, a former contestant who has since died. Here’s the last paragraph from his post.

      “If I learned anything from Jenn it is this: Don’t be afraid to ask someone how they are truly feeling about dying. Don’t shy away from the scary parts of death. They need someone to talk to about what is going on inside their head. Most importantly, encourage them to let go of the expectations of others and give them permission to do what is right for them, even if it means letting go.”

  • 13. Mooch  |  March 1, 2011 at 6:32 am

    I will always love you!!! You are important in my life. When I am gone, I hope you will always remember I loved and thought about you everyday!

    • 14. Rita  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:33 am

      Mooch, we spent so much time in the same household when we were young that you’re almost like a little sister. Thank God you can’t remember me sticking you with a diaper pin when I was trying to get your diaper on! LOL! Hey, I was only 13…I had no MOM skills. I still don’t… 🙂

      Thank you for taking such good care of everyone. We love you for more thank your cooking skills, but you sure are a good cook!

      • 15. Mooch  |  March 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

        See I don’t remember the diaper pins. Just when you and mom tell me about it. I remember getting to ride in your lap and drive the chevette(the coolest car ever). I remeber you teaching me the—railroad crossing can u spell that without any r’s??? I remember you letting me listen to my favorite song Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell. You are the rock in my life. I coudln’t make it without you. You are my role model. I wish I was more like you. I cook for poppy and you because I know your mom wants me to take care of you all. Its hard to show you how much i love you all. So I hope the cooking expresses my love for you all. I will ALWAYS love you

      • 16. Rita Hess  |  March 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm

        RR crossing…okay, you’ll have to help me out on that one! LOL! I don’t remember! And I sure don’t remember you liking Glen Campbell. George Strait…YES! But Glen? Really?
        Love you, too—and your mom! 🙂

  • 17. Susan Ferri  |  March 1, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Thank you for this thought inspiring post. It’s so true that people are uncomfortable talking about certain things.. almost like it “jinxes” the situation. Anyway, I want you to know that your friendship and support means a lot to me, Rita. You are fantastic!

    • 18. Rita  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

      I didn’t want to freak you out with this post, Susan, and it’s hard to tell sometimes how things will come across online. I know your surgery is going to go well…I’ve already talked to God about it. A lot. 🙂

      I have gotten to know you better on FB and never realized you were such a good writer! And the link to your blog is ________ (fill in the blank). Multi-talented, too…I admire your cooking skills and loved your “ducks in a row” picture!

      Your sense of humor through all of this has been phenomenal. Please know that I will continue praying for a speedy recover. Not just for you and your family, but also for me. I’m going to miss you on FB! 🙂

  • 19. Ya Ya  |  March 1, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Thanks, Rita, for the reminder and thanks for the extra prayers. I’m grieving over the loss of my mom but thank goodness that is ONE regret that I don[t have! We’ve always told each other freely that we loved each other and then more so the last few months (and days) of her life.

    A lot of times in the middle of the night our conversation would consist of, “Mama, do you need anything?” “No, I’m fine.” “Good Night, I love you.” “I love you, too.”

    She hugged me one night in the middle of the night and said, “You’re still my sweet baby girl, aren’t you!?” I said, “Yeah, boy! I’m your sweet 60 year old baby girl!” (and we both laughed)

    God Bless you, Rita. I love you, girl!

    • 20. Rita  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

      I want to live close to you, Greta! We’d have so much fun going to yard sales and sitting at your kitchen table telling stories and gossiping about people! LOL!

      I’m so happy that you left nothing unsaid, but I know that losing your Mom left a huge empty spot in your life that nobody else can fill. Someday we’ll get to see them again—I do believe that! My mom and I will be sitting in heaven drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. 🙂 What will you guys be doing?

      You ARE your mom’s sweet baby girl. And you are a friend that I treasure. Love you, too!

  • 21. Susan  |  March 1, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I learned my lesson about what to say (and what NOT to say) at age nine, when my mom died. As a result, I probably say too much. Cripes, is there no happy medium? 🙂

    But I remember my mother-in-law trying to tell me about the trials of growing old, and I wouldn’t let her. I said, “Oh, you’re not old, Mom!” Like you say, thinking positive, and all that. After she died, I wished I’d commiserated.

    But I’m here to assure you, Rita, that your mom definitely knew you loved her. Moms know these things. She still knows.

    • 22. Rita Hess  |  March 1, 2011 at 10:46 am

      Happy medium… HA!HA! 🙂 If you find it or figure out how to live within the boundaries, let me know!

      Thanks, Susan. Somehow it feels better to know I’m not the only one who wanted to *hush up* someone rather than letting them talk talking about it.

      I know that YOU truly recognize the importance of leaving nothing unsaid. And my, oh my, you have such a beautiful way of saying everything! 🙂


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