Photo by Shannnnon
Editor’s Note: Reading this made me cry. It contains an important lesson. Take a minute to read this story and reflect on its lessons.
Guest Story By Tommy Whitaker Jr.
“If you admire someone you should go ahead and tell them.
People never get the flowers when they can still smell them.”
I lost my dad in 2003 when I was 22 years old.
I still remember the day it happened like it was yesterday. My mom woke me up and told me that my dad had called and believes he’s having a heart attack.
I jumped in my car and drove over to his home to see how he was. On my way over there, I called him and asked if he needed me to call an ambulance. He responded “yes”. So I called 911.
I was a complete nervous wreck driving over to his home. Upon entering I saw him lying on his bed conscious with his shirt off. A couple of minutes later, the paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital.
I met my mom at the hospital and we sat in the waiting room in complete silence.
The doctor finally came out and informed us that he did in fact have a heart attack, but they will keep him for a few days to monitor his progress. The doctor believed that my dad may to go home over the weekend.
Well, he didn’t make it to the weekend.
I went to bed that Thursday night and at 2:50am Friday morning my sister called with the news that he had passed away.
The feeling that came over my body was surreal. My eldest sister called five minutes later crying, asking “why did this happen?”
After I got off the phone with her, I woke my Mom up and told her the news. My parents were divorced but maintained a good relationship.
My Mom gave me a long hug and we then drove to the hospital to meet up with the rest of the family.
I ended up burying my Dad the following Wednesday.
The Story of My Dad
My dad and I were inseparable.
We had more than your typical father and son relationship. He constantly let me know that I was his best friend and I echoed the same sentiments.
My dad and I were the same, but we were also very different.
He was very outgoing and was always the life of the party. My dad could literally talk for hours at a time and not even break a sweat. I’m the exact opposite.
I’ve always been laid back and quiet. I never liked being the center of attention. In fact, I used to get stressed out whenever I felt all eyes were on me. I was the classic introvert while my dad was an extrovert to the core.
Although, our personalities were complete opposites, we got along great. I confided in my dad and told him everything. I would tell my dad things before I would tell my best friends.
I have few regrets in my life and the one that eats at me constantly is the fact that I never told my dad how I felt about him.
I think because of my personality, it’s hard for me to open up and to tell people how I feel about them.
My last words to my dad on September 11th, 2003 were “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I then turned around and walked out of his hospital room and went home that Thursday evening. I didn’t hug him or tell him “I love you” or anything that expressed how I felt about him.
Fortunately, my dad wasn’t shy about opening up and expressing his feelings. He constantly told me that he was proud of me and “wished” he was more like me. He used to jokingly say, “I want to be like you when I grow up.”
Unfortunately, I failed to let my dad know that I wanted to be more like him. Now, every morning when I wake up, I talk to my dad for a quick minute as a way to start my day.
If God granted me five minutes with my dad, I would tell him:
- I love you
- I appreciate all of the sacrifices that you made for me
- I’m sorry that I wasn’t more understanding in your time of need
- You’ve taught me so many things that I still use on a daily basis
- I wish I could be more like you
- Although I never showed it, I’ve always thought the world of you
- I would always brag to my closest friends how tight you and I were
- You are my best friend forever
- Once again, I LOVE YOU DAD!
Losing my dad has taught me that if I feel a certain way about someone, whether it’s family, friend, or whomever, then I need to open up and let them know.
I still have issues expressing myself, but I have improved considerably over the past nine years.
I also learned that I needed to appreciate my loved ones while they are still around and to stop taking them for granted.
My dad appeared to be the poster child for good health, and then on one Wednesday morning he had a heart attack, and passed away two days later.
Life can be so unpredictable.
I now make a concerted effort to let my mom know that I love her and I appreciate everything she’s done for me. I even got into the habit of randomly ordering flowers and having them delivered to my mom on her day off.
I’m still not as vocal as I would like to be with regards to telling people how I feel about them, but I’ve made great strides. I also make it a point to visit my nephews and spend more time with them.
We don’t receive any do over’s in life. We can’t go back and change the past.
Fortunately, we can learn from our past mistakes and use that knowledge to help us move forward.
*** If someone you loved suddenly passed away, what would you regret not doing? Can you do them now? What did you learn from this story? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
About the Author
Tommy Whitaker Jr. is a self help enthusiast who enjoys helping people discover a new way of thinking. Visit his blog at Tommy’s Key to Success.
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