No! There’s never a good time to say goodbye. But around Christmas time? When everyone is getting ready to celebrate the birth of Christ?
Recently, we lost a dear friend to cancer. From the moment he was given 12 to 18 months, until the end, 4 1/2 years later, Terry lived each day to the fullest. At his funeral, knowing how I felt losing such a dear friend, I remember thinking how hard it must be for his family to lose their loved one so close to Christmastime. What I didn’t know was that our family would be in a similar situation just 2 1/2 weeks later.
Tuesday December 13, hubby and I were cleaning up the supper dishes when the phone rang. The voice at the other end was obviously very upset, and I didn’t understand a lot of what she said – let alone trying to figure out who she was – until I heard the words ‘Donald’s dead’.
What?!? was my first response. As she began speaking again, I recognized her as Laurie, my husband’s cousin.
Donald, my husband’s brother, was out hunting rabbit. Investigators, who ruled out foul play and suicide, would later tell us they believed Donald tripped and instinctively tried to steady himself. The gun went off, killing him instantly.
Like his brothers, and their father before them, my husband is an avid hunter; and this freak accident had me do a lot of thinking. First of all, I’m still in denial about Donald’s passing. I lost count how many times Tuesday evening, I prayed that this was a nightmare, that I would wake up and realize it was just that, a terrible dream. And woke, I did, several times through the night in fact, but it was still very real.
Right now, though, my heart goes out to my mother-in-law; I can’t imagine the thought of losing either of my children; as well it goes to my brother-in-law, Raymond, who found Donald. But more than anything, I ache deeply for my husband. I lost a brother too, so I know the pain.
Perhaps it was the look of agony in my husband’s eyes when we first got the news that tears away at me. Perhaps it’s was the tears I knew he so wanted to shed but couldn’t. Perhaps, it’s not having the chance to say ‘I love you brother’, one more time… Whatever it was, it has me thinking.
– My brother died in a house fire. There was no time to say goodbye…
– 18 months later, my father died of sudden heart complications. There was no time to say goodbye…
– My father-in-law was scheduled for tests, but died suddenly the night before. There was no time to say goodbye…
– And now, Donald, a mere 200 yards from his mother’s house, and yet… no time to say goodbye.
The sudden passing of these people reminds me of the shortness of life. I penned these few words as they came to mind.
As you prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ
Think of the One who brought us hope and eternal life
Thank God for sending His Son to earth
Making His birth, His life, His death all it’s worth
As you fill the stockings with treats
And put presents under the tree
As you bake mom’s famous shortbread and pies
Cakes and the sweets and all your little heart desires
This Christmas, make time
Take that extra step
Go the extra mile
To enjoy the people in your life
There is no time like the present
Show them you care with a hug, a smile
Take the time to show
Let your loved ones know
Life is such an uncertainty. Live each day to its fullest. And tell someone you love them. Today.
May your Christmas be blessed And your New Year free of sorrow
Here are the words of a poem someone shared with me. The author is unknown but the words are so true.
If You’re Ever Going To Love Me
If you’re ever going to love me, love me now, while I can know,
All the sweet and tender feelings which from real affection flow.
Love me now, while I’m living; do not wait ’til I am gone
And chisel it in marble – warm love words on ice-cold stone.
If you’ve dear sweet thoughts about me, why not whisper them to me?
Don’t you know ‘twould make me happy and as glad as glad could be?
If you wait ’til I’m sleeping, never to waken here again,
There’ll be walls of earth between us and I couldn’t hear you then.
If you knew someone was thirsting for a drop of water sweet.
Would you be so slow to bring it? Would you step with laggard feet?
There are tender hearts all around us who are thirsting for our love;
Why withhold from them what nature makes them crave all else above?
I won’t need your kind caresses when the grass grows over my face;
I won’t crave your love or kisses in my last low resting place.
So, then, if you love me, if it’s just a little bit,
Let me know now while living; I can own and treasure it.