Why do we fear final words? Why must our deepest feelings of love and appreciation of the people in our lives only be mentioned as a finality of the moment or of life?
Why do we not spend time practising complete honesty and transparency about what people mean to us, what they really mean to us? Surely that would build even stronger relationships and bonds, it would spread more love and make our worlds a better place?
We only say what people mean to us at the end. When we say goodbyes. When we’ve spent the evening with long lost friends who we haven’t seen in what feels like forever. There are hugs and kisses and promises to keep in touch because everyone misses each other so much. Why don’t we say it when we kiss and hug hello?
Why do we only say the things we really think at the end of a relationship. You break up with someone, a partner, a soulmate or even a friend. And we don’t say how much it meant to us. We show anger and hate instead of love, because we are hurting and cowards.
I think it’s because were afraid of feeling. Feeling such strong emotions of adoration and love. We shy away from admitting to ourselves how much we might need someone. We don’t want to come on too strong, too soppy. Maybe we don’t want to admit how much they mean, because when they leave we don’t want to admit how much it hurts. Not to others and not even to ourselves.
But we need to speak up for the people we love. We need to tell them and not in the final moments. Not in a rushed speech where things go unsaid. We need to take time to be courageous and speak up.
Permanent things can happen in life. We can wish, pray and cross our fingers as much as we want but the irreparable can and will happen. We whisper and shout to higher powers; Gods, karma, and luck to work their magic. But we are helpless. Death can happen. And we wait until death, the final moments to speak up and say how much the life meant. Why the fuck do we do that…
The past months have been some of the hardest in my life. My Dad almost lost his life to a heart condition (aortic dissection is a difficult one to explain…Google). When you think of people who suffer heart problems as dramatically as what he did, he was not the image you’d ever have conjured. He rode his cycle bike in the sun, in the cold, in the dry and in the rain. Miles and miles of cycling in questionable neon and florescent fashion choices. Always walking around, never taking the short route. He never had butter, stayed away from sugar, only salads and soup for lunches, and made consciously healthy decisions.
But there he sat in his meeting at work one average day. Leg numb, clammy sweat trickling down his forehead, panic setting in. Something wasn’t right.
He called my mum and she called upstairs to me and my brother, luckily we were both in the house, we drove to the hospital, our own hearts beating out of our chests. What would we face when we walked through the double doors?
We found my Dad, laying in a bed, panic on his face, a tight smile as we walked in. There wasn’t room for anything else, no calming words, no humour (which has always been the main method of getting through tough times in my family) and we waited for results from a CT scan. As we waited, I overheard the doctors talking through the blue sheets hanging from the ceiling, separating us from them.
‘Something sinister is going on here’ one woman said, and she wasn’t wrong. As my Dad was wheeled in from a CT scan, my brother asked ‘All good?’, more because it felt like something needed to be said than anything else. We all knew it wasn’t. A forced ‘no’ was the answer from my Dad. The ambulance people were already around us, moving us aside, moving us to the other side of the big blue privacy sheets. They wired my Dad to the machines with speed and accuracy. And off he went to a specialist hospital for emergency surgery. He makes it out alive, I think we thanked every higher power and them some when the call came in at 5am the next day.
But I remember following the ambulance. I remember thinking what if he doesn’t make it. Why didn’t I say what I wanted to say in A&E. I remember not wanting to be weak in front of the doctors who see so much everyday. I also didn’t want to worry my Dad more saying final thoughts as though I’d never see him again. But I also thought do I need to say anything at all?
It brought into question almost every interaction I’d ever had with him. Does my Dad know how I really feel and think? That everyone says they have the best Dad but they’re wrong. That the parts of myself that I’m proudest of our just emulations of him. Or that even on his weakest day, he was still the strongest person I’d ever known in my life. Did I always convey how proud I was of him, or how much I respected him? Or had our conflicts and harsh words in tempered moments overridden all of that?
Like I said… He made it through. Recovery wasn’t a straight road my any means, and it still isn’t now. There are turns and bumps no one can predict. But the day came, over three weeks in his own hell and he was on his way home. And suddenly the words that sat right on the tip of my tongue for three weeks, petrified they’d never have their chance to be heard, seemed less hasty to move. It became soppy again, dramatic even to speak such emotionally loaded sentiments.
We vent, and bitch, and gossip like its good for us. But we rarely sit and sing peoples praises behind their backs, let alone to their faces. Why are we so quick to tell it like it is and live by the morals of if I don’t like someone I’m gonna tell em. But we never just tell someone how important they are, a colleague at work to help us get through the day, or a friend who can instantly lift your spirits. Why are these words kept in until the last moment? Why when we’re super nice to someone is the joke made ‘are you dying or something… your being nice..’ why do with see kindness and genuine open appreciation as something synonymous to the final things to say to someone. Why are the final moments the good words there and then. Why can the final moments not be the memories of the good words which have already been said time and time again.
And why did I write this? Because I feel weird saying this in person and thought a back handed blog post would do the trick? Who knows… not me to be honest.
Perhaps this is just a written reminder to be kinder, and speak up more when I appreciate someones existence in my life. Not just my Dad, not just my family, but everyone I love in my life, even people I just like in my life.
And maybe its a reminder not just to save the words until the final moments.
Because we never know when they come and go, and we might just miss them.