Saturday, February 13, 2010

Because it is Valentine's Day

Recently, one of my oldest and dearest friends had a stroke. He survived, yet it was a shock to all of us. Then, just a few weeks later, another dear friend had a heart attack and survived. It seems as though they have both fully recovered, but WOW! What a wake up call, not just for them, but all of us who were paying attention.

After my first friend’s stroke and just before my other friend’s heart attack, my little half-sister fell and broke her leg. Following her surgery, she had complications with her breathing. You see, our little Naomi did not know how to swallow correctly and her lungs filled with fluid. Soon she was on life support, and shortly after that, it became clear that she would never recover. As a family, we all agreed that taking her off of life support was the right thing to do. Naomi died just a day later.

Naomi had severe developmental disability (It is no longer considered appropriate to use the term “retarded”.) She was 39 years old and others who had a similar condition had never lived beyond 30 years of age. Though her life was not particularly long, it was not a short life. It was certainly long enough for her to have had an impact on a number of people.

I tell you this because it is Valentine’s Day. Though Valentine’s Day is traditionally reserved for lovers, I think it is a good time to tell everyone you love that they matter and make a difference…before it is too late.

Telling people that we love them would be a great habit to have every day. But if you are like me, you may not take the time daily to communicate this message to those you love most and just assume that they know. If that is as true for you as it is for me, then I encourage you to use Valentine’s Day to get the word out.

In fact, if you are reading this, please know that you make a difference to me and I love you for that.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.