As our family and friends know, both of David’s parents passed away recently, within a few months of one another. And, as almost everyone who knows David and me is aware, I adored both of David’s parents. I will go as far as saying that both David’s mother, Carole, and father, Herman, were nicer and kinder to me than the majority of my family members. I truly loved both of them and I will miss them, greatly, for the rest of my life. Although Carole and I were dear friends, it was Herman with whom I shared an even deeper bond. Unlike most of David’s family, I genuinely enjoyed Herman’s silly jokes and pranks. In fact, I am carrying on his tradition of playing a fun prank on unsuspecting people. But this post is not about Herman’s pranks. It is about the last time I spoke with him. David called his father often. And, during the pandemic when we were not allowed to visit Herman, David and I participated in 24 FaceTime chats with him. I often called Herman, without David, just to say “Hi!” and let him know I was thinking about him. The last conversation I had with Herman was on April 16, 1 week prior to his passing. We had a pleasant conversation that included discussing our “mutual admiration society,” his vow NOT to stay out of trouble (something his care givers probably disliked!), and our hope to see each other in the near future. When it was time to end our call, I said, “Herman, there’s one more thing I want to tell you before we hang up.” He replied, “What is that”? And, I said, “I love you.” He then replied, “I love you too!” What a wonderful memory for me! And here’s a lesson to those who are reading this post. Let the last thing you say to your loved ones be something nice. You never know; it may be your last chance to talk with them.
It has been a rough year for me, my brothers, and Melissa with the loss of my parents, 106 days apart. Their decline was long and difficult. Collectively, we did many things to manage their care and quality of life. That fact that they had made similar efforts to care for their parents or other family certainly set a good example for us to follow. And, Dad was aware, in varying degrees, of the efforts which were being made on his and Mom’s behalf. He frequently said “Never forget I love you.” We always knew Dad loved us even though he was not overly affectionate. I think it took him a long time to realize that he needed help, or to accept help from us and others. That acceptance seemed to bring out more affection from him than ever in my lifetime. But, Melissa is right, whether dealing with elderly, dying, parents or others in one’s life, making sure to “share the love” by letting people know they are loved reduces the chance of having regrets down the road. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, now, while you have a chance.