I was speaking with a woman whose husband had died suddenly. She was wondering aloud what’s better…a long drawn out illness where you know the person is dying or a sudden death then ends life quickly.
She said, tearing up, “I never got to say good-bye and tell him I loved him.”
There’s a kind of regret that sits alongside grief…the regret of ‘I wish I had told them.’ It’s a regret that wants a ‘do over’…that tells us we should have, could have done things differently.
It’s a regret that waits for a dream of the deceased to offer some assurance that our loved one is okay…and okay with us. This is all so very tender and sad…and confusing to the already deep well of grief with the death of a loved one.
What if we made our life with someone we love into one long good-bye? What if we didn’t wait until a catastrophic illness, an accident to strike to let our love be known? What a risk we run if the death is sudden…to not have made our love manifest.
After my conversation with her, I was thinking about how we can choose to live in such a way that we’re always saying good-bye. By that I mean, we voice our love, our recognition, our appreciation of our lives together. So much so, that even if our last words were angry words, we’d be okay, because we know we love each other and that angry words are just a part of being in relationship; they don’t undo anything.
Do the people we love truly know we love them, value their presence in our lives, know that life without them may go on but never be the same? It’s not something reserved for special occasions. It a daily connection in a smile, a laugh, a thank you, an I love you…all the ways we say the long good-bye…with no regrets.
Mary Jo Heyen is a certified Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com.