I’m finding out right now about the very real side of mortality. For those of you uncomfortable with the idea of death, you had better get used to it. We are mortals. We are all going to die at some point. Every moment is precious, so don’t waste any of them! If you have something to say to someone, something to accomplish in life, or anything to reconcile with anyone, do it now. Now. You never know when time will have run out for you or someone else. Give your parents a lot of love. Go climb that mountain. Go for that long shot of a dream job, and if it doesn’t work out, you will be able to say that you gave it your best shot and you can be proud of that. Stop and look at the spring flowers along the side of the path you’re walking on and, whether they be weeds or not, notice and appreciate their beauty. Appreciate what you have and the people in your life. Never pass up an opportunity to tell a friend or family member how much you love them. If you have something uplifting to say, no matter how shy you are or how dumb and insignificant it may seem, say it. Don’t hold back.
Why am I saying all of this? I’m losing my dad. He’s in the hospital right now, hopefully sleeping and dreaming happy dreams while on a BiPAP and oxygen, with kidney failure. My dad and I haven’t always gotten along, but I love him, and when I’ve had my head on straight, I’ve told him I love him every chance I can get. He always responds with, “Love you, too.” Just a week ago, we had the 189th General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I watched part of it in one of the stake chapels and part of it at a friend’s house. The Prophet gave a talk on the subject of, “Where Is Your Family?” and I paid attention to it, but little did I know I would need to pay a lot more attention in the coming days. My life is getting turned upside-down right now, and so is my family’s. Where is your family? Are they square with their Higher Power or satisfied with their choices in life? Are they – and you – ready to meet death?
It feels like my guts are getting ripped out through my heart right now. I broke down in tears yesterday for the first time in a long time with the realization that my father is dying. He will have the option of going on dialysis, but his quality of life will not improve much, and I don’t know that my dad will choose to go through dialysis. He very well may not. My dad isn’t old, either. I’m not ready to lose my dad. I don’t know that I ever would be, and there’s really no way to prepare yourself for something like this. I just hope that I’ve been a good enough example to him in life and that he knows how much I love him. Even though there’s nothing I can do about his medical condition or the decisions he’s going to make about his care, I can spend time with him. There is still time, however short it ends up being, to say, “I love you, Dad.” Sometimes you don’t say it. Sometimes you show it. I kissed him on the forehead last night as I left his hospital room, and said, “I love you, Dad,” twice. He responded by saying he loved me, too. That’s one thing my dad has never failed to say to me. I’ve failed to say it to him on many occasions, especially during my teenage years, which were rough. I can’t go back in time, but I can say it and show it now.
So, no matter what the rifts between you and your family members are, or how they got there, I implore you to fix them if possible while there’s still time. You never know, in mortality, when time is going to run out. You may see it coming a mile away, and people may make poor choices about their own lives, but never stop loving them, and never stop being a good example for them. Death may come at any time, and the process is hard to watch if death does not come immediately. There may be choices involved that you don’t agree with, but that you have to watch others make. Those are their decisions, though, no matter how difficult they may be for you to swallow. One thing you need to swallow, though, is your pride. Say the words, “I love you,” often, and never fail to say them when you mean them. Don’t miss out on life because of a grudge or a difference of opinion that drags you down into the angry, bitter muck of life. Be wise, but also be quick to forgive, and live your life as an example to others. You never know when death will come. So LIVE while you can!