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Say it now

Why wait until the people we respect, admire, appreciate and care for are no longer around?

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One of my brothers suggested that we, siblings, make a video message to cheer up our dad who had been in hospital for quite some time. This was back in April this year. Papa’s condition was not looking good, and we hoped to lift his spirits by reminiscing our favorite moments and experiences with him. We even talked about the places we would visit when he got better. I am thankful for that precious opportunity to get to say the wonderful things and heartwarming moments we experienced with each other. Papa passed away later that month.

The sad reality is that ever since a pandemic was declared, many of the people I know have experienced losing a family member, relative, friend, colleague or neighbor. Some due to Covid-19, others due to different causes or illnesses.

More than at any other time in my life thus far, I have attended a lot of online novena and funeral services and have heard the most eulogies in the span of one year.

What moves me most with the tributes is that eulogists seem most grateful when they were able to clearly express their appreciation, care and love for the other before that person passed on. On the other hand, one of the most heartbreaking eulogies is when the speaker says that he or she regrets not being able to express their love for the other or were not able to say it often enough.

I am immensely thankful for technology as I have been able to keep in touch with family and friends who are based in different cities or countries around the world and, yes, I am able to share with them how much they mean to me.

An oft-repeated phrase which I find most practical and life-giving is that we should tell the people we love that we love them. One of the things made clear with the challenging events in this pandemic time has been that life is precious and can be cut short all too suddenly.

I have started writing lists which I hope to put into letters for the special people in my life. Lists of my favorite moments and experiences with such individuals. An exercise in gratitude and seeing all the good that has happened and continues to happen despite the trials we face.

It has been said time and again that the kindest of words are often used to describe those who have gone ahead of us. But why wait until the people we respect, admire, appreciate and care for are no longer around?

Say it to them now, albeit online or virtually, and eagerly anticipate making more memories with them when all is safe in the world again.

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