I found out that my (Great) Aunt Beth passed away yesterday. I've lived 15-20 minutes away from her for the last few years and never took the time to go visit her, even when she asked, mainly because I have a shy streak, and I was afraid of feeling awkward or not knowing what to say. I shouldn't have, because she never made me feel that way.
Now that opportunity is gone.
Try not to make the same mistake I did. I'm not down on myself. I just wanted to say something to help others remember what's actually important.
I wasn't very close to my Aunt Beth, but she was the kind of person you always felt good to be around and talk to. I get good feelings when I remember her, which, I think, is what we all hope to leave behind when we die. Even in her 80's, she was "with it." Positive, independent, loving, kind, not a complainer, not one to hold grudges.
Unfortunately, it's people like that, that tend to get overlooked.
Because they don't need our sympathies. Because we know whatever we do, they won't hold ill feelings. Because they don't complain about their problems. Because they're self-reliant. Because we know they can handle whatever disaster comes their way with a smile, even if, sometimes, it's only a half-hearted smile.
But that doesn't mean they deserve our attention and love any less.
So instead of giving me sympathy, go write someone a thank-you note, go call a friend, just sit with a family member--whether they're on top of their world or hanging on by their fingertips.