A few days ago, my significant other’s mother passed away. Jim and I were able to be with his mom for a while just hours before she died. Although she was unresponsive to our touch and our voice, I believe she knew we were there. It was the first time that I’ve ever been that close to someone who is on the threshold of life as we know it, about to cross into Life that we can only imagine in our most beautiful dreams.
As I held her hand and stroked her hair, I thought of all the conversations Millie and I have had over the seven years since we met. I knew this would be the last time I would speak to her, which made me glad for all the other times we took to talk. When Jim and I were living with his sister for two years (while our home was being rebuilt), Millie would stop by sometimes during the day for a cup of coffee and to chat. It was just the two of us, and that is when we had our best conversations. She would tell me about her career (in fashion retail), about Jim as a little boy, and about how she loved to entertain. I learned about the infant daughter who died before Jim was born, and the heartache that she still felt over a half-century later at the loss of her child. She was open, thoughtful, and often funny in those times. Those conversations were when I really came to know and love Millie.
Our last conversation was one-sided; it was me whispering in her ear to not be afraid, to let go, to relax into God’s arms. They were murmurings grounded in faith and shared in love. Perhaps she didn’t hear me. But I felt complete with Millie, because of all we had shared in the years before. She knew I loved her, and I know she loved me. There was really nothing I had to say, except that last goodbye.
What I learned from this experience was the importance of having conversations with those we care about. I try to treasure every interaction with those around me, and not leave unsaid any kind, caring, or loving thought. Is there someone in your life that you want to connect with through a conversation? Is there anything you want to tell someone at home or at work, which someday you will wish you had said?
Sharon Keys Seal