Nothing lasts forever, especially human beings. Unlike shelved products that have expiry dates, we have no expiry dates; yet we perish. We are here today, gone tomorrow. Yet, while we are here, we assume that we are immortal. We forget to be human, to play, to live to love and be loved, to build memories with those who matter most.
When was the last time you called your parents, siblings, cousins, old schoolmates, etc. just to check up on them? Are you still in touch with these people?
I recently stumbled on some shots from my uncle’s burial and these pictures opened up a well of bitter memories I would rather not remember.
When my uncle passed, I cried out my eyeballs. We weren’t really close, so I wasn’t crying because I was going to miss him terribly – even though I still miss him. I cried because I had all these grudges, which are now ridiculously foolish. Irrelevant things like how he spoke to me, like how he sent me on those ridiculous errands and a bunch of other things that didn’t really matter.
Looking back, all I see now is how stupid I was not to have built a relationship with him. I assumed he would always be here, and he had forever to be my uncle and be a part of my life. I wish I remembered that life has no guarantees.
My uncle and my dad were very close. They had this unexplainable bond even their siblings didn’t understand. My dad would never stop talking about his brother. Oh his brother this, his brother that, his brother here, his brother there. I used to think that my dad cared about his brother than he did me. This contributed to the silent feud going on in my head between my uncle and I.
When he became ill, everyone did all they could physically to help him get better. I was in school, then and I could have called more often than I did. I could have visited. I could have done more than I did.
I didn’t go out of my way to do anything extraordinary for my uncle. I assumed that we were going to go through that after all, we have been through worse. Imagine the shock I got when that call came in. It was a Friday evening, my cousin in Eko, called me to confirm if the gist was true. I was in the East and I didn’t even know. JESUS! I thundered, when she asked me that question. A gazillion ‘If Onlys’ went through my mind. If Only I had called. If Only I had gone to visit like I promised. If Only I had been much more concerned and caring. If Only we settled this subtle beef.
This post is a typical case of physician heal thyself. I look back and I’m still so ashamed of myself. We could have had a relationship if I had tried harder. When I eventually got to his house, I was too ashamed to speak. I couldn’t even utter a word. What do I say to this woman who had gone from wife to widow in a blink? Outsiders who spent his last moments with him had a lot to say; but me? Nada. All I could say, was ‘I am sorry.’
The truth is I am still sorry I didn’t tell my uncle how I felt; that I wasn’t nicer, that I didn’t make any conscious efforts and I didn’t carry out my functions as I ought to.
Don’t let this be the story of your life. We take our loved ones for granted. We assume that we have forever to be with each other.
Nothing lasts forever, not even us. We are here today and gone tomorrow. There are no guarantees in life. Anything can happen at any time, and all that will matter are the memories.
What was the last conversation we had? What was the last activity we participated in together? What was the basis of the last phone conversation? What did I say in my last text and a bunch of other questions begging for answers.
If you are mad at them, please let them know. If you love them, voice it. If they make you bitter, for God’s sake open your mouth and talk. Don’t assume they should know, they are not omniscient.
Yes, I know that life is busy. We all grow up and leave the nest to concentrate on building our own families, careers, lives… we forget the people with whom we are supposed to share everything that we are busy trying to get.
No one is asking you not to chase your dreams and achieve great feats or make a name for yourself or carve out your destiny. All we are saying is please carry us along. We don’t want to miss out on your life and we don’t want you to miss out on ours too.
Let’s create memories. Love me, fight me, be in my face. I want you to. Make my business your business. Advise me, listen to me when I talk, and expect me to return all the favours listed above. It’s called living.
Don’t give room for regrets at the end of the road. Don’t let the last thing I remember about you be the hate filled words you said to me, or the help I could have rendered to you, which you turned down, or some stupid baseless quarrel.
Remember, there are no guarantees in life. When it matters most, your memories will matter the most. You have the time to create them now.
So please tell me, what is it going to be?
Photo Credit: Jason Stitt | Dreamstime.com