One of my favorite gospel songs is "Grateful" by Hezekiah Walker. Part of the lyrics read: ". . . Gratefulness is flowing from my heart." This season of thanksgiving is truly a time to reflect on your blessings and to be grateful for them. Your most precious blessings, second only to God, are the people who love and care for you. Hold them dear, tell them you love them over and over, and show them how much you care. I say this because no one knows the day or the hour that you or your loved ones will depart this earth.
I've been in the mortuary business for many years and before that I was a social worker in health care settings. One of the saddest things I've seen in both professions is the look of regret on someone's face. Regret that they didn't say "I love you"; regret that they didn't say "I'm sorry"; regret that they didn't visit more often; regret that they didn't try to make amends, etc . . . before a loved one died.
Saying goodbye to someone is so much more difficult when there are regrets. They are accompanied by guilt, added sadness and sometimes even despair. Hezekiah Walker also has a song titled "I Need You To Survive." His choir sings "I need you. You need me. We're all a part of God's body . . . " If we remember this and let our hearts lead, we will put aside our busy schedules, pride, shame, fears, selfishness, etc . . . and reconnect or strengthen those family and friendship bonds.
We can be the source of a tender touch, a big hug, an encouraging word, a heart felt prayer, a needed gift, any of which can make a difference in a loved one's life. We can help deliver much comfort, joy and peace. So let's allow gratefulness to flow from our hearts this Thanksgiving and Christmas season, and spread a lot of cheer while we can and while our loved ones can enjoy it.
[Gail Valentine Taylor, M.S.W., Funeral Director, (626) 798-8941, www.woodsvalentinemortuary.com.]