While thinking about my 2011 personal goals, I reflected upon 2010.
Last year I attended a funeral.
That night, a young widow cried in front a casket. She cried with despair, hurting from unimaginable pain. She wept with her eyes closed and head down, weakened, desolate. Her eyes, fixed on the open casket, acknowledged no one else. The condolences from those arriving went unheard. She sat there motionless, staring at her lover’s cold, pale body, unreactive to the cries around her or the commotion of those that came to pay their respects and saw the deceased for the first time. She sat there, with dimmed, dark wet eyes, staring at the casket. Staring at the casket, in her own silence. A silence that was interrupted by her own hurtful, sudden weeping, brought on perhaps by an unsuspecting memory of their wedding or random night where he professed his love to her.
She yearned for her lover’s warmth, for his breath, for his voice to say her name one more time. But he laid there, motionless. Somehow she gathered strength to stand up. Slowly, with heavy steps, carrying with her the anchor of pain and loss, she approached the casket. With careful tenderness she caressed his hair, his eyes, his cheeks as she ran her fingers down his face. Her shaky fingers stopped at his lips, lips that she had kissed thousands of times before, lips that would never again kiss her. She addressed him, now in his final resting place, uttering words that sometimes we all take for granted or do not say enough. She told him that she loved him. And thanked him for making her happy.
But there was no response.
After the funeral, I took my wife home. The ride home was very somber. We just held hands and didn’t say much. We were absorbing everything we had witnessed. Everything we had learned. Upon arriving, I opened a bottle of my best wine. Wine that I had been saving for a very special occasion, our 5th year Anniversary that was still 2 years away. And I told her that that night we would celebrate we could have dinner together, celebrate that we could hold each other, and that we must be conscious of and appreciate that simple fact. Appreciate that an “I love you too” can be heard after an “I love you”.
We must not take those we love for granted for we never know when their time has come.
We never know when the last “I love you” has been said.
She will see him again. But she will have to wait. For now, she can only see him in some distant memory on a rainy night. Or a dream. Or the clouds.
In the meantime, you and I, we must value, must take advantage of the precious, invaluable ability to call our mothers, our fathers, sisters, brothers.. our soul mate, and tell them that we love them. Tell them that they mean so much to our lives. How important they are. How empty it would be without them. We must appreciate the fact that when we say such words, we can hear a response…
Unlike that night, that night when a widow cried in front of a casket.
And reaffirmed in me the feeling that
every day and every night is a blessing.