I am debating writing this post, even as I type the words. I feel as if I'm taking advantage of someone else's tragedy to expound upon my personal thoughts, but apparently I'm saying, "so be it."
I had the misfortune-pleasure-honor of attending a memorial service last night for the first time in over 11 years. The last was for my father-in-law who died after a long illness in his mid-60s. Last night's celebration of life was for a vital, vibrant man of 49 who left behind a wonderful wife, two young children, and a life yet to be lived.
I did not know T, the man we were honoring; his wife is a friend of mine. As I listened to his family, friends, and coworkers talk about him, however, I wished I'd had a chance to know him. He seemed like someone I would have enjoyed. He loved nature, was an avid birder, worked hard to build the Alaskan life he wanted, and loved his family mightily. Everyone who spoke told of a man who loved life and lived it to its fullest.
When T's best friend spoke, he echoed the thoughts that had been running through my mind: it's too bad we wait until someone is dead to give voice to all of the wonderful things we think about them. We should tell people how important they are while they are still alive. While speaking kind and loving words at a memorial service might bring comfort to the family of the deceased, it doesn't do anything for the person himself, nor, I suspect, does it bring much comfort to the speaker.
It seems contrived and corny and hard to speak from the heart, even to friends, but I'm not sure why. I tell my husband and daughter several times a day that I love them. I should be equally willing to do the same with Mandy and Red and Wendy and Brian and all of the other people who are important in my life, and who have helped make me who I am today.
Will I do any better about this? Probably not. I'll come back to the contrived and corny and hard part, and keep my mouth shut. For that, I am sorry.
Will you please just do me a favor? Don't give me the opportunity to speak publicly about my feelings for you any time soon, okay? I like having you right here on Earth being an important part of my life in the here and now.