When I opened Facebook, I got the message that it is my aunt’s birthday today. Actually, it was my aunt’s birthday. She passed away a few years ago.
She was somebody who was a good family friend and I never knew her as anything but “Auntie Sandy.” She was funny, loving, kind, and, like me, a teacher.
I hadn’t seen her in years but the love and the memories were (and still are) vivid when I sent a birthday message to my Uncle Pat, 2 years ago, wishing him a happy birthday and asking him to give Auntie Sandy a hug from me. It was then that I found out she had passed away.
I was stunned. You always think you have so much time with the people you love and with the people you connect with. I had been in lazy touch with them. A Facebook message here and there. But beyond that, I didn’t make much of an effort.
I know it’s natural. Life happens and you get busy. Sometimes you outgrow relationships and that’s okay too.
But the ones you want to keep require care, love and nurturing. They require effort, without keeping track of who did what to whom and who called who last.
When we moved, our families grew apart. We didn’t see each other as much.
Then one day, I found a Winnie the Pooh card (full disclosure–I can’t remember if the quote below was the quote on the card but it fit the post). I wrote a note about how I thought about them and missed them. As luck would have it they were coming up from Florida and would be near where my husband and I lived with our two boys.
I can’t tell you what a delight it was to see them. We laughed. They told the boys stories about me when I was young and, apparently Hell on wheels. My aunt gave me some advice about teaching that I carry with me today. Our meeting, after so many years, was nothing short of amazing.
I’m so happy I have that memory and that my boys and husband got to meet these mythical people that were such a big part of my growing up. And all it took was a handwritten note to make it all happen.
Loss is inevitable. And it sucks. Flat. Out. Sucks.
The lesson that, honestly, I’m still learning is to treasure the connections you make and do what you can to keep the ones that make you better. Reach out. Make that call. Write that note. Apologize if you’ve hurt someone and forgive when asked. You never know when that opportunity will be taken from you. #HappyFix #SelfCare