I thought this post would be easier to write. I realize that no matter how carefully chosen, my words will likely be inadequate. It is ironic since I have entitled this “Nothing Left Unsaid”, and yet, surely, there will be something left unsaid. I went to a celebration of life this week for a truly wonderful woman. Those closest to her, her family and friends, spoke about what a joyful, giving, compassionate person she was. It was an outpouring of love that mirrored the love she showed for others. If light could take a corporeal form, it would be her. She lived her convictions undeterred by what was trendy. She wasn’t distracted by the shiny objects which hide the much-prized of little worth. It was obvious in the words of her family and closest friends that she knew what was important- them. It was also obvious that this was no secret between them. Though I can’t be sure, I think very little was left unsaid. Love expressed and shared. Faith embraced and lived. Comfort given and accepted. Forgiveness and thanks shared in equal measure. All the little things in life that, in the end, are the biggest things – shared.
At times like this, I find myself taking inventory. Not comparing one life to another, but really asking myself what I could learn from this moment and what I have learned from this person. In this instance as I thought about my own life, though I have said so very many words, I know I have left much unsaid. There have been gifts which may have been small to the giver but were enormous to me. Yet I know my thanks was a lamb when it should have been a lion. I am sure I assumed, on more than one occasion, people knew how I felt. In my youth, I was too proud or afraid of appearing weak to show the true depths of my appreciation. Sometimes I just waited too long and the time or the person passed. I don’t think I ever came right out and told my father-in-law how much I loved that he let my daughter lead him around by the hand where ever she wanted to go, or how he would get on the floor and play with her until his laughter turned to tears. I hope my grandpa knew he was my hero, but I wish I would have said it loud and often. I know I didn’t tell my sister (until today) how full my heart was to know that she stayed up all night in the waiting room on the night of my daughter’s birth. I need to thank the superintendent who let me golf with the guys, despite my hopeless game, because he didn’t want me left out of the conversations. I wish I had told my college professor that he changed the course of my life by giving me the chance to teach a chemistry lab. I wish I had told the nun who hugged me every morning in second grade that I loved coming to school because of her. I wished I had thanked the APs who were looking out for me when I was looking out for everyone else. I wish I had told my principal that I was a better teacher and a better person for having known him.
I am better at this now. Better. I think my girls know I love them and I am grateful for the community we have built together. I know I don’t hold anything back at home. I am intentional about gratitude. I try to remember how important it is to acknowledge hard work, talent and teamwork. Perhaps it is age. Perhaps it is experiencing all of life’s big moments- good and bad. I know I can do better though. Here is the thing: we do not know the number of our days. The things that matter are not things at all. In the words of Ram Dass, “We are all just walking each other home.” What matters is what happens between us. It’s time to say the things that have been left unsaid.
This is a picture of my husband and daughter sharing a moment on the beach at Kalaloch. I was trailing behind them, mesmerized as they explored the tide pools and talked. We were heading back in. He threw her up over his shoulders and she clung to his head. They know this is my favorite picture of them. They also know how much I love them because I never let that go unsaid.
The Best Seat in the House
(1/640 sec., f/5.6, 9.2mm, 100 ISO)