Often, at cremation services in Boones Mill, VA, there will be an outpouring of thoughts and feelings from family members about their loved one who has died. That outpouring may be tinged with tears and notes of wistfulness, regrets, and sadness.
Too often in life, we take the people we loved for granted. It’s difficult for us to imagine them one day being gone for good, so we don’t do and say the things we should do and say while they are still with them.
Our lives get busy and we often sacrifice time and memories with our loved ones in the process. We’ll call Dad and Mom next week. We go home during the next holiday. We’ll see our siblings next year.
We may value and appreciate these close relationships, but our actions and words don’t prove that. We always tend to assume we will have more time.
Our parents probably made a lot of sacrifices to make sure we were well-provided for growing up. They may have taken on second jobs or put their own plans and dreams on hold to make sure we went to college and got the education that enabled us to get good jobs – which now may be keeping us very busy.
If we live nearby our parents, they may provide us with free childcare by taking care of our children, instead of spending time with their friends or even traveling during their retirement. They may attend school events and fill in all the gaps we are unable to with our children.
If we don’t live nearby our parents, they may shower our children with gifts throughout the year and send us birthday presents of cash or gift certificates for all of our families to have something above and beyond on these special occasions.
Yet, we may not be in regular contact with our parents. We mean to be, but every time we think about calling them or video chatting with them, something comes up and we say, “I’ll do it next week.” Then next week turns into next month, which then turns into next year. We may not even make it back to see them once a year.
Then one of our parents dies. We are stunned and shocked because we never imagined they wouldn’t always be there, and we thought we would have more time with them. Suddenly, all the missed opportunities to connect with them, to talk with them, to be with them rise to the surface and we realize that we took them for granted. The time we had is gone and it will never come back.
The same is true for our relationships with our siblings. Some siblings are really close and some siblings are not. That happens in families more times than not. But, in some families, the siblings are all close, but life takes them physically far away from each other.
However, even if we’re close with all our siblings, we may take them for granted. We may not stay in regular touch with them or make opportunities to regularly spend time with them. We assume they will always be there and we’ll do it someday.
Then one of our siblings dies unexpectedly. Suddenly, the reality that they are gone and we never did the things we wanted to with them and we never told them the things that were deep in our hearts sinks in.
We should never take our loved ones for granted. None of us is promised tomorrow.