I was just browsing through Pinterest and reading quotes (huge fan of good ones!), when I remembered my Dad’s words as he lay in the hospital with cancer. He wasn’t there for a long time. And I guess that’s why it was so hard to catch up emotionally with what was happening. Because if I actually had, I think I would’ve done things differently. I would’ve wanted to; I wish I had.
See, I don’t want to be the kind of person saying these words on my deathbed because I realized soon enough, with the majority of my grandparents dying in my teens, that this is indeed the only life we get. This short, significant, funny, beautiful second. Because it is really that short compared to death, to what’s coming after death, to heaven – I don’t know what you believe in. I have hope and certainty, I believe in heaven and hell. But whatever you believe, it all comes down to how short this life, full of flaws and also full of bliss, really is.
We visited my Dad in hospital and he wasn’t always talking much. Chemo weakened him. But I remember that every time I sat by his side, I wouldn’t say much either. I would try to take in the situation, not knowing what to do. However he, looking at me intently as if trying to memorize my face, trying to get as much of it as he could, would always tell me “Say something.”
I didn’t think much of it. I was 19, dating a nice guy at that time, so I told him about that. He told me to be careful. I told him there was nothing to worry about. Dad and I, in that moment, were just being father and daughter. But now, thinking back, it’s like a light went on. When he said “say something” it wasn’t just casual conversation. I mean maybe it was also that. But more than that, it was using his time left to be as “dad” as he could be. He wanted to get less of “I wish I had”-s. He didn’t want to be that person. But he also realized there may not be much he could do against thinking “I wish I had”.
And I really, really don’t want you to arrive at the end of your life thinking those words. I don’t want to lie on a bed somewhere asking people I love to say something. Now is the time I want them to tell me. I want people to be as vulnerable as they can be because I am not going to play it down as something insignificant. Because it is good to be vulnerable.
It’s good to be real.