Stop taking the people you love for granted

Time passes quickly. Make sure your peeps know how you feel about them.

Christiana White


Photo by Shaira Dela Peña on Unsplash

It keeps happening. I keep losing the people I love long before I’m ready. As if we’re ever ready. How do I stop taking the people I love for granted?

Yesterday, I attended a concert in Napa with a dear friend. We met at his place and set out for the Charles Krug winery, where a jazz show was to be held beneath towering oaks on the vineyard grounds.

In the car, my friend mentioned he’s having some serious health challenges. I knew this already. But now, various issues are cropping up and layering upon one another in a frightening manner. During our discussion, my friend happened to reveal he’s now 74 years old. I was flooded with shame and shock. 74? I thought he was still in his early 60s. But, how could I have?

Apparently, I’m in complete and utter denial of time passing.

I am also older, of course, and thinking about it all of the time, as in retirement, retiring, when to retire, how does one retire, getting ready to retire, etc. Yet, I failed to see that the people I love are aging, that their health is growing fragile, that time is limited.

I am surrounded by these people, the people I love.

And I’ve been through the drill several times now, and with the VIPs of my life: my father, Colleen (basically my surrogate mother and the godmother of my children), and the man I call(ed) Bubby, my great love. In each of these cases, I willfully ignored or missed the cues of their decline.

For my father, perhaps, I was more tuned in. But even with him… we’d had so many near misses that I’d grown inured to his decline. He always bounced back. We always had a little more runway.

Until we were in the final stretch. It took Wanda, the head nurse on my father’s nursing room floor, to get my attention trained where it needed to be. One afternoon as I was leaving, she trained a steady, meaningful gaze on me and said, “You might want to be around more in the coming weeks.” I got her meaning.

But, we never really believe it, do we. It’s so difficult to wrap our heads around death.