One of the life lessons which seems to being repeated as one hits middle age is ensuring you tell those you care about and love how you really feel about them…before it’s too late. 

Regret is a terrible thing.

I was recently at a funeral of a friend of mine from my days in Taber at the Taber Times. 

She was a wonderful person. 23 years my senior, married and five children of her own, she quasi adopted me and we were good friends. The type of friend we all need. Lift you up when you were feeling down; be encouraging and ensure you were being level headed and humble when you accomplished something great but in turn was brutally honest when you slipped for the wrong reasons. Nothing fake. 100% honest. No games. 

One day she would march in and bring in heavily red penned pages from the Times, her British accent wavering between annoyed and disgusted as she complained to me or the editor about the typos, poor grammar and spelling she made a point of finding in that week’s edition. She was also the person who brought me one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I ever had during my first Thanksgiving away from home and having to work and be alone, she delivered it right to my office and sat with me until I finished every morsal. Awesome moment.

She led by example and was heavily involved in community events and was the perfect matriarch of an amazing family.

I was a huge fan of hers. As a young reporter in a town and culture so different from home, it was a relief to know where you stood. She was one of the first non-newspaper friends I made and was like the big older sister I never had. 

A flood of memories came back to me and when I heard details of all the hardships she endured I was astonished. I knew she had a tough life and a challenging childhood. While I was listened, a sense of dread came in: did I tell her enough how much I admired her? How much I respected her and everything she stood for? How did she accomplish all that she did? 

I guess actions will always speak louder than words but it’s good and necessary to verbalize your feelings. Besides how people act, saying something nice goes along way to a person. People know they are appreciated, loved and feel important. While the actual words may fade with time, it’s how you actually make another person felt is what is remembered. 

I don’t remember every word of every conversation that I had with my friend but I do remember how good it was to have someone who would talk and make me feel included in events and helped when I needed it. 

I just hope that I did the same for her. 

After the, I make a mental note to make extra sure everyone that I care about understands how I feel and that they have my admiration and respect. You never know what friends or family are going through. A positive word can make all the difference to someone that day.

To borrow a quote: “Never apologize for saying what you feel. It’s like being sorry for being real.”

For those you care about, being real is what’s the most important.

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