Don’t Wait Until the Funeral

So last night my childhood BFF’s dad passed away. Their family has been in my life for well over 25 years. And actually, he was at my dad’s bedside when he took his last breaths. And so was my friend. He did so much during the brief time my dad was hospitalized, from getting us food, making sure we were comfortable, to organizing the priest who could preside over my father’s funeral. I think he did even more than that behind the scenes, but it’s all a little bit of a fog nine years later.

But when I got the call that he had passed, and then subsequently started the remembrance process, I realized…

I never told him thank you for being there.

I mean, maybe I did in the moment. But I never told him again.

And I wish that I had.

Why are we waiting? I know the realistic answer. We understandably get tied up in our everyday lives, and then suddenly, without warning, someone is gone. And we never got to say what we really wanted to say beyond the surface.

I have to believe that he knew he was loved, admired, adored, and every other adjective in the book.

But it was a good reminder for me – actually a “smack me in my face” wake up call. Almost immediately after getting the news, I picked up my phone and started dialing. Actual real-life phone calls instead of the texting that I’ve grown so accustomed to. And let’s be honest, I don’t even do that regularly enough. In every conversation I had that day, with friends whom I’ve known for a sweet forever, they all ended the same way… “we really should do this more often.” There was something about hearing their sweet voices and laughing through our tears as we recalled memory after memory. Not to mention being able to catch up on life beyond the highlights of Facebook posts. Oh, it was so good for my soul. And it was powerfully cathartic to tell them just how much they each mean to me.

A few weeks ago, our Houston Moms Blog founder started posting each contributor’s photo to our secret Facebook group every day. The idea was for the other contributors to chime in and comment to speak positive words into that person’s life, from encouragement to what we loved and admired about them. What could have been an opportunity to spread “fluff” or be just another task in our overly full lives, instead transformed into the most powerful experience. I mean clearly we are writers, so we do embrace the written word, but WOW. To see the comments and the time that people were willing to spend to lift the other’s up was profoundly inspiring. When it came time for my day in the barrel so to speak, I was blown away. Here were these women, whom I so much admire and aspire to be like, speaking right to my heart. In that moment, I felt love. I didn’t need the words to validate me as a person, but man. I could die tomorrow and know that in some teensy, tiny way, I had a little impact on these 18 other women.

We won’t be here forever. We know that. Accidents happen. Illnesses take lives way too soon. Horrific tragedies like Paris could hit our backyard. As I think about the fragility of life, I want to tell people NOW what they mean to me. How they have helped me grow as a person. The “little” things that they have done that have actually turned out to be huge things to me. I know it can be hard. But you know what’s harder? Living with the fact of “I should have told you.”

I want my husband to know that without him as my life partner, I would be completely lost. He is IT for me. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for putting him here beside me. Honey, I am crazy blessed to have you. Our little family is everything to me. You encourage me to chase my dreams and allow me to rest when I need to. You go above the call of duty in EVERYTHING you lay hands on. You are my lobster.

I want my mom to know that, beyond just being my mom, she is my best friend, my confidant, my person who breathes light into my life. Her positivity, her heart, her “roll with the flow” mentality, and her passion for life all inspires me and encourages me. Mom, thank you for always being there, to love, support, cry, and laugh with. Plus, ya know – GEAUX Tigers.

I want my children to know that you are the reason I get up every day. You gave me one of the greatest titles in my life, “Mommy”. I never knew how much I wanted you until you were here. And now that you are, I couldn’t imagine my life otherwise. My loves, sure we have our frustrating days. But my goodness, I wouldn’t have it any other way. You have taught me more than any textbook ever could. And in you, I have realized truly what unconditional love looks like.

I want my brother to know that his daddy would be so proud of him. You carry so many of his wonderful traits and are such an amazing provider to your family. I love seeing you as a dad to K-Bug and a husband to my sweet sister-in-law.

I want my friends to know that life just wouldn’t be as sweet without you. From those who have known me since diapers and atrocious red glasses, to those who lived with me in college {bless your hearts and #pleasekeepyoursecrets}, and those who are now my closest “mommy friends”, I love doing life with you. You make me want to do better, be better, and live better.

Speak now. Do now. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

I love how a few of my fellow contributors are leaving legacies for their children. It may seem morose, but really it’s just preparation for a reality.

A few ideas ::

  1. Get in the picture. It’s oft repeated, but oh so important. I want and NEED to be better at this.
  2. Take a video. Speak into the camera to each child and why you love them right at this moment.
  3. Keep a journal. Don’t stress yourself out if you don’t write every day or every week. But capture the big moments. Your writing may mean everything to your children one day.
  4. Buy a handful of recordable books. Have the grandparents read your child’s favorite story. Then sit down and do your own. Your voice is important.

Death is not a fun subject. It’s certainly not awesome to write about. But in death, we learn about life. And we learn what truly is important. Celebrate, cherish, and don’t wait. Thank you, Glenn, for the reminder. And that’s what I call a God wink for sure.

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Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!

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