I was rushing to Shasha, around the Egbeda area of Lagos on that Sunday evening, cutting short my pre-marital class. It was getting dark and different thoughts were running in my head, “Maybe I should not go”, “Is this a ploy to make me come running to see her?”, “Did she get someone to send exaggerated messages for me to run visiting as she sometimes does?”
But my focus returned. The text message I had received in class continued to stir at the back of my mind. I didn’t even notice anything around me. In that moment, I felt so dead. The tap on my shoulder by my friend beside me was what woke me up to reality.
Earlier that day I had received news that my mother, had tragically and unexpectedly passed away. Her heartbeat no longer held her to this world. I remember the scene like it was just yesterday. When you lose a loved one, the only strong feelings you get are usually feelings of regrets of the things you wished you could have done differently.
Reflecting back on this experience, I have come to realize that when we lose someone, it temporarily or forever changes something in us. We suddenly have a better idea how we could have treated the person or how differently we could have acted in different situations.
These lessons we learn from loss are valuable reminders for our own personal growth. They serve as directions that lead us to the “how” to live better. In finding my own “how”, my pointer was to let go of judgement. This, to be honest, I still struggle with but I’m a work in progress. Too often we form negative judgments about people based on their mistakes and choices they made that we don’t agree with and in doing so, we can’t see the best in them. We create generalizations that cut us off from the people around us.
I didn’t get along with my mother for more than twenty years, so I didn’t get to really know her. I only started to know her last year before she passed away. Sometimes I thought she had a hardened heart because she separated with my dad and we didn’t hear from her for years. A lot of times I came in to do damage control for relationships that went soar even with my siblings. She had so much hurts in her and hurting people was the only way she knew. She quarreled and accused almost everyone including me (lol) if you didn’t keep in touch. She would complain about me not visiting her often, even when I visited her just the day before.
Yet, there were so many things I could have appreciated more by simply looking beyond my judgments. She was friendly and known by so many. She had a great sense of humour and was one person that if she told you she was going to pray for you, she would. It didn’t matter who you were to her. She was always fasting for her children even with her state of health.
Her energy and zest for life was contagious. I really admired her courage and desire to keep working instead of just sitting around. She always finished my airtime blessing me. I never met anyone who blessed me as much as she did and in a short time we really became friends. But I never told her how much she really meant to me while she was alive because I was too busy judging her choices. And now I’ll never have the chance.
What judgments are getting in the way of connecting with people in your life? What would you appreciate about them if you knew your time with them was limited?
Meghan Trainor says it better in her song, Like I’m gonna loose you. “…No, we’re not promised tomorrow, so I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you, And I’m gonna hold you like I’m saying goodbye, Wherever we’re standing, I won’t take you for granted, ‘Cause we’ll never know when, when we’ll run out of time…”
The moments we have are little grains of sand, rather than waste time quarreling over something which, when it’s all said and done, amounts to nothing in the end, use that time to let your loved ones know that you really appreciate and love them.
Photo Credits : http://www.the-open-mind.com/