‘Cause I’ve lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved [them]
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for [them] never were revealed
So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much [they] mean to me
And avoid that circumstance
Where there’s no second chance to tell [them] how I feel
These lyrics from a Garth Brooks’ song have always moved me. Now more than ever. Trust yourSelf and speak your truth even if that might feel uncomfortable.
I’ve known my best friend for almost all of my life. She knows me better than my sisters do. My mother was her second mother as hers was mine. When her mother died, I stayed with my friend and looked after the basic things so that she had time to deal with what had to be done and to grieve. When my mother died, I stayed with her and she gave me the space I needed to grieve. When her last relative fell and broke her hip and my friend’s partner had a stroke, I stayed with her and looked after the dog and made meals and the like so she could travel from one hospital to another and look after her loved ones. When she was diagnosed with melanoma, I went to the hospital with her and kept her distracted as the surgeon removed the cancer under local anesthetic.
We’ve seen each other through moving, school [she earned my university degrees with me], relationships, illness, and death. And we’ve shared laughter and conversation and advice [mainly hers to me]. We may not see each other for months at a time and yet we each know that the other is there and that we can count on them.
I’ve learned through my friendship with her is that I need to speak up. When my friend was diagnosed with cancer, I was angry. I had planned to spend a lot of time with her once I retired from teaching and now that was being threatened. We had both lost our parents to complications from cancer. And I didn’t know what to say to her or what to do. Finally, I sat down with her and asked her how she needed me to be for her — what could we talk about, how could I help? And she let me know what she needed.
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