One of my readings this morning reminded me of a thought I had a day or two after my wife died unexpectedly: “When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.” (Psalm 146:4 NRSV). She and I had made plans for my retirement. She was already retired. We had just figured out where we wanted to live after I retired in another year. Then while playing Bridge one morning, she died suddenly because of a ruptured brain aneurysm. That day all our plans perished too.
I had always feared something like that would happen to me. For years I would tell my wife if ever she was going to be later than expected to please call me, because I am a worrier. Fortunately, I had decided years earlier that there was no way I could protect her from the inevitable. Since I had no control over that, the only thing I did have control over was making sure she knew I loved her.
On that morning, I saw her getting ready to leave from across the parking lot and I could have just waved good-bye. I didn’t. Instead I walked over to the car and waited while she rolled down the window. Then I leaned in and said “I love you” and kissed her.
A popular singer has these lyrics in a song: “shower the people with love that you love, show them the way that you feel.” There is no way to plan for the death of a loved one, but there is a way to make sure they know how you feel. Tell them.