Five years ago we had an impromptu birthday party. I baked a cake and invited Mom to come for dinner so we could celebrate her birthday. My sister came too, and we ate, played cards, and had a wonderful time together. The evening was filled with laughter. It always was when Mom was there. It wasn’t anything big, and it was very last-minute. And am so thankful that we had that evening together. Not one of us could have guessed that less than a week later we would be in a hospital hallway receiving the news that Mom was goneā€¦

Today is a bittersweet day for me. I’ll always have one last really good memory, and for that I really am grateful! Yet, it was the last time we celebrated Mom’s birthday. Despite the passing of five years, I still miss her very much.

If there is one thing that day taught me: You never know what will happen, so make sure that people know how much you love them. Losing Mom was a shock that none of us was prepared for. But I have the comfort of knowing that we didn’t leave anything unsaid. I didn’t get to “say goodbye” before she died, but I didn’t have to. I knew she loved me, I always knew that she loved me. She knew how much I loved and admired her, because I told her.

None of us knows what even the next hour will bring. Don’t leave things unsaid or undone. Pay the visit, make the call, write the letter, give the hug, whatever it is you need to do, do it today. Mom said she always told her friends and family that she loved them because if something happened, she wanted it to be the last thing that she said to them. That’s one piece of advice that I’ve never regretted taking to heart.