Love the people you love fiercely and intentionally. Our time on earth is brief whether your last breath is at twenty or one hundred and two. It’s all relative. Each day we wake, go about our day, go to sleep and do it all over again. But how are we living? How are we choosing to love and appreciate the people around us? It’s a conscious choice we make whether we realize it or not. It’s asking ourselves, are we living in the moment valuing and appreciating the people in our lives or are we not? Refuse to let another grain of sand slip through your hands without saying an, “I love you,” or “I appreciate you.” There is unbridled richness in learning how to love and appreciate the people we care for in our lives. The choice is our own.
No one’s perfect…
My grandma passed away two years ago today. She would have been one hundred years old. Think about that, one hundred and one years on earth. She was ninety nine and it seemed unimaginable for my grandmother NOT to make it to one hundred. There were things about that drove me crazy. There were things she would say or do that would make me cringe.There were times I would shake my head or she tested the heck out of my patience. Sometimes we would talk about it and sometimes we wouldn’t. There were also things about me I know would aggravate her. So often in life, but not always, relationships and family are things that go hand in hand.
But I made a decision a number of years ago, our differences would not ever place a vice in our relationship. I would never refrain from telling her that I loved her. I would always hug or kiss her. She was and will always be my grandmother.
She would tell me on our talks on the porch or sitting in the car during a long drive, “I can close my eyes and I’m sixteen again.” In her nineties she would smile speaking of her mom and dad who passed years earlier. They were within reach of her memories fingertips. They were right there. Her life went by in a flash, just as ours does, when we take time to pause and reflect. The question is, who are we investing ourselves in? And are we valuing and loving them?
I realize there are some insanely toxic relationships out there. There are times it is justifiable to distance ourselves from others. But more often, we can distance ourselves or refrain from expressing HOW we feel simply because we think we have time. But what if tomorrow was the last time you saw that special someone? How would you feel? What would you have said? And that is where the problem lies. We think of, “If only..” Well guess what? You have right now and the present, refuse to allow that to slip through your fingertips.
Do not allow another today to come and go. I promise you it isn’t worth it.
Learning How to Love and Appreciate the People in Our Lives
This isn’t always easy. It also isn’t an innate feeling for many. But realize, we can learn and grow as long as we choose to. That’s a beautiful thing. We can choose to learn how to love and appreciate the people in our lives in ways and it has the ability to see life in a whole new way. Gratitude and expression of our affection has a trickle down effect. It reinforces that time is precious, life is not about us, we have the ability to make someone’s day better with a sprinkle of effort and it feels awesome to make someone else feel awesome. Pretty neat, huh?
A few ways to show our affection? It can be any of the following and beyond: telling someone you love them, letting them know you appreciate them, leaving a note or writing a letter expressing gratitude, taking time to be with them more frequently, scheduling time on the phone, working on a project together, drop off or mail a favorite snack, book or something that they enjoy. The list can go on and on. Part of the fun is infusing our own thoughts and creativity. For some, this may be a struggle initially simply because we may not know the person very well even though we care for them. That’s ok. Be patient with yourself and them. Stay the course.
Life can be busy, stressful and a bazillion other descriptive words that simply keep up from being present. Fight to keep present. Pursue it and keep your eye and heart on one area that is insurmountably significant: the people in your life. Make your inner circle, your family a priority. Cling to it. Refuse for work, home projects, emails, soccer practice, laundry or whatever else to dilute you from being present and releasing appreciation and gratitude towards you loved ones. It simply isn’t worth it. I promise. It may be you need a daily, weekly or monthly check in with yourself to ask, “how am I doing?” Know that that is ok and even healthy. You’re human – we can occasionally need a nudge and push to get back where are intended to be.
Our last dance
My grandma made the move from Florida to Virginia to live with my parents three years prior to her passing. She wasn’t happy about leaving the Sunshine State, but she knew she could no longer live by herself. I remember about a week before she passed I shared with her that I was happy she moved with my parents. I expressed it was in these three years we grew very close. We really began to know one another. She would reach her hands and place them on mine and just hold them. She would look out lost in her thoughts and simply say, “I love you more.” I know she did a thousand times over. Like the hours we spent dancing to Big Band music in my parents living room over the years. She loved to sing and dance. She made life more colorful.
Her last night on earth I sat with her and held her hand. She was tired and I knew she was ready for rest, to finally rest. She touched my arm and asked me to help her to the bathroom. As I helped her out of bed, she held onto me and I went to shift her toward the bathroom. She asked me to wait a moment. I asked softly, “are you ok?” She nodded and said, “I just want one last dance.” She and I stood and swayed in the early hours of the morning in my parents living room, our cheeks touching as tears rolled down my face. Grandma, wearing her leopard pajamas and faintly humming, graced me with one of my most precious moments of my life. We shared a dance I wouldn’t exchange for anything. The next day she would take her last breath and I believe with all of my heart, she is now reunited with my Grandfather and they’re dancing together in Heaven. She danced through life and now forever in Heaven.
Keep it real
It’s easy to be impatient when people are young or when they’re old. We can be frustrated with our loved ones when they are night and day to us or have little to none of our interests. It isn’t easy, but I’ll tell you what, it is necessary. Let the people who you care and love know how you feel. May we not lean on the idea that they simply can assume or know when we’ve never or rarely expressed it. Every day we wake up and do life is a gift, it isn’t a given. May we remember this and set the example with our own children, nieces, nephews or grandkids that there is tremendous value in family. If we dismiss others and allocate little time or thought – they will follow suit.
Today is a new day and a new opportunity to send a text, make a phone call, write a letter, drop by or simply hug the heck out of that someone or multiple people that will be so grateful for your pause in the day to express your appreciation of them. Gratitude is an attitude that will rock your world!