As I become older, I am aware of how many people I have lost and how many have been lost to those I love. While I object to spending a great deal of time in grief and sadness, I do think about the opportunities missed to tell those we love exactly how we feel about them.
My experience says that men have much more difficulty with expressing their feelings than women. Obviously, that generalization is subject to countless exceptions. Some women don’t know how to or refuse to express their feelings, especially when it comes to loved ones. And likewise, some men have no difficulty whatsoever in discussing their feelings, to significant others or family members.
What’s the reason for this reluctance to talk about our emotions? There are probably as many reasons as there are people who can’t or won’t. And while I make no (ridiculous) attempt to change this, I do have some gentle suggestions to make.
Many of us who have lost those closest to us did so without ever hearing the feelings that they had for us. It would have been soothing to hear a, “I’m so proud of you” or “I’m glad that you’re my daughter” or something along those lines. While I have many family members and friends who are lavish with their compliments or gratitude, some kindnesses and words can never be duplicated.
As one who feels strongly about articulating how we feel about others, I urge you to waste no time in telling those closest to you how your life is defined or amplified by their existences. For me, I find myself also guilty of not telling those closest that they are as wonderful as I find them and how proud I am of who they are and what they have achieved.
My irreplaceable and uniquely magnificent children should know that they are my greatest gifts and that I am grateful that they call me Mom or Mommy or Mother. If you are likewise blessed, waste no time in detailing how you feel, in spite of how often you’ve said it or thought about saying it. This is not done in the spirit of anticipating last breaths but more in making every breath matter. Shalom.