This was yet another painful reminder that we are not promised tomorrow. One of the disadvantages of growing older is that, in ever-increasing numbers, someone in our family, friends, fellow church members, business associates and others dies almost every week. My wife, Viola, and I have attended several funerals in just the past few months.
While there are many things that emotionally impact each of us, one of the saddest for me is to see or have a friend who loses his mate and then faces untold hours of loneliness.
Over the past several years I have gotten to know a wonderful man by the name of J.L. Abbott who lives in Mountain Home, Ark. When I was up in his community several months ago on a speaking engagement, I went by to see him and his wife, Rose. I knew that Rose had been in poor health and just recently I got an email telling me that Rose had passed away. Of course, this left J.L. all alone, far away from the daily comfort of family members.
Over the next few weeks I corresponded with him a number of times with words that I hoped would bring him comfort in his loss. Then to my surprise I got a note from J.L. with an article by an unknown author titled, “I Love You.” He said it was a source of comfort to him and may be to others who had suffered the loss of a mate. Because I know this is the case among my many readers, I want to share this piece with you.
“One day a woman’s husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning there isn’t anymore. No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more ‘just one minute.’ Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say goodbye, or say ‘I love you.’
“So while we have it, it’s best to love it, care for it, fix it when it’s broken and heal it when it’s sick. This is true for marriage … and old cars, and children with bad report cards, and dogs with bad hips, and aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it and because we are worth it. Some things we keep — like a best friend who moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make us happy no matter what. Life is important, like people we know who are special. And so we keep them close!”
The piece continues, “I received this from someone who thought I was a ‘keeper!’ Then I sent it to the people I think of in the same way. Now it’s your turn to send this to all those people who are ‘keepers’ in your life, including the person who sent it to you — if you feel that way. Suppose one morning you never wake up. Do all your friends know you love them? I was thinking — I could die today, tomorrow or next week, and I wondered if I had any wounds needing to be healed, friendships that needed rekindling or three words needing to be said.
“Let every one of your friends know you love them. Even if you think they do not love you back, you would be amazed what those three little words and a smile can do. And just in case God calls me home, I LOVE YA! Live today to the fullest because we are not promised tomorrow.”
Share this with someone who has lost their mate. It will bring comfort to them as it has to my friend, J.L. Abbott.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)