By Dawn Onley
Three years ago, my family hosted a 100th birthday celebration for my grandmother at one of the fancier restaurants in my small town.
Family members sang to her as part of a special choir assembled for the occasion. Many of us shared stories about Nana, what she had taught us over the years, how she demonstrated her love so effortlessly in the soulful meals that she prepared each Sunday for whomever dropped by, how her faith covered us and her prayers sustained us. Tables were adorned with framed proclamations from senators, members of Congress, the governor of Maryland and even President Obama and first lady, Michelle. It was a grand affair and she was completely deserving of such an honor.
Afterwards, an older cousin raved at the great time she had and also commented that she wished that she could know now what everyone would say about her at her funeral. She said we gave our Nana that opportunity because we gave her “her flowers while she is still here to enjoy them.”
At the time, I shared this comment with my Facebook friends as a status update. Yesterday, I was reminded about the comment when it came up as a Facebook memory. I’m thankful that it did because it reinforced for me that I need to make sure I’m putting forth my greatest effort in giving my loved ones their flowers while they are still here. This means letting them know that they have added so much value to my life just by being in it; that they are irreplaceable; that I have learned from the lessons they have taught; that I admire them; that I feel so immensely blessed to call them family or friend.
It’s so easy to forget this important message while we go about our busy lives. We can get so consumed with living that we forget to let our loved ones know just what they mean to us. A quick phone call or visit might not mean much to us, but it could mean the world to someone we love. Let’s vow to take the time to do this, if we aren’t already doing it.
I know I will. From here on out, I will make it a point to do better. When the thought of a person enters my mind, I will reach out. I won’t hold back nor will I put it off for tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised.
I will share the flowers now. I will let them know that they played a role in who I am; that they made my road easier and more pleasant just by being there. I will tell them that they are appreciated. Because, the sweet fragrance of gratitude received is far better than the wilted longing of a single regret.