Sunday, August 1, 2010

Piece of Advice #60: Say the good stuff

My husband got the news yesterday that a man he'd grown up with is dying of throat cancer.  This old friend isn't very old in actuality, and the news was shocking.  He has very little time left and leaves behind a wife and a small child.

Now life had intervened the way it does, my husband had relocated hundreds of miles from his childhood home, and these two hadn't seen each other in awhile, but his first inclination was to go and see his friend as soon as possible.  The problem is, he is so sick that even talking on the telephone is an effort.  It might be too much for him at this point to get through a visit. I told him to definitely go if he felt he needed to go in person.  But if that would stress his friend, an alternative might be to write a letter detailing all the things that he would not want his friend dying without knowing.  The childhood memories, the things he liked and respected about his friend, all the good stuff that came to mind when he thought of this man.  Sharing a childhood with this person had been a gift for my husband; a letter of this type would be an appropriate farewell present.

This man's death is a personal tragedy for his family and friends and terribly sad.  However, the rest of us do not have to wait until people we love get diagnosed with cancer to tell our friends and family what they mean to us.  We can give the gift of our regard anytime and should tell people the good things about themselves - not to butter up or schmooze, but so they can know the positive ways in which they impact the world and the people around them.   So often we do the opposite and criticize or fall into snark, but is it so hard to express admiration or appreciation?  If someone's words strike you as wise, tell him.  If a friend is always there for you, make sure she knows that her loyalty and trust is something valuable to you.  Tell the coworker who doesn't gossip that you appreciate that she stays above the fray.  Tell your brother how funny he is and how you love laughing with him and thank him for all the times he showed up to help you move.  Call your mom up and tell her you love her.

There is no reason we have to wait or hold off on letting the people in our lives know that they are loved and dear to us.  That information is not best saved for the eulogy.  Make it known today.


  1. How does this post have no comments? The message is so heart warming.

    I'm going to spread some love here.

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  2. Not all families love one another, in fact many families are collections of strangers or acquaintances who fate happened to put together.