“Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.” Mitch Albom
November 15 2012, on our way to the hospital, when my husband started telling me that if he didn’t make it back this time, I interrupted saying, “You’re not going anywhere.” I so wanted at that moment for us to stop the car and talk before reaching the hospital. I so wanted to ask him so many questions, to tell him for the millionth time what a wonderful husband and father he was and that I loved him very much. But I didn’t because I wanted to reach the hospital as quickly as possible to give him all the care he needed. Had I known I would have insisted that we stop.
But we never know do we? We might feel it sometimes. Whether it’s intuition or sixth sense, I don’t know. But deep down in our hearts we have this gut feeling that this might be it and yet we just can’t say or do anything. We feel paralyzed perhaps by fear or anxiety. Somehow we feel that this might be our last chance. There are so many things we want to say and do. And yet we cannot say a word.
During my last visit to my parents in Lebanon in the summer of 2010, I realized how fragile both my mother and father had become. On the day of departure, it dawned on me that perhaps this was the last time I would see them. I wanted so much to tell them how much I love them. I wanted to tell them how much I appreciate what they have done for me and it is because of them that I am the person I am today. I wanted to ask their forgiveness for all the times that I have treated them unkindly, hurt them unintentionally, not knowing then what they were going through at the time. I wanted to tell them that even though I live miles and miles away, I love them so much and that they are always in my mind and heart. But I could not bring myself to do it. All I could say to them was to take care of themselves, and that I would be back soon to be with them again.
I never saw my father again. And now thinking back on that day in November I only wish that we had stopped for a few minutes and I had poured my heart and my mind out. I never got the chance to say goodbye and that hurts more than anything. Words!
Words! Said at times of love, of hate. Said passionately, shyly, without regret. Words of hope, words of despair, words of wisdom, words of disappointment, words of comfort, words of solace. Words! It is words that connect people, words that separate them, words that mark the beginning of a new life, words that bring closure, words that encourage, words that hurt. Words that touch some secret chord within. At certain times a mere “I’m sorry,” or “I love you,” or “Don’t worry,” would make all the difference in the world to the person hearing it. Words!
“Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have music of their own as sweet as that of a viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?” Oscar Wilde