I feel so fortunate to have found a profession in which my main goal is to teach people how to love one another. Yes, I teach communication skills, tools to help in times of conflict and tension, and a myriad of other concrete and abstract techniques. But when you drill into the source of what I do, it’s about learning to love, act from that love, and live your life in a way that leaves no room for regrets.
This last week has brought home, in a very personal way, the importance of the words in the above paragraph. My husband, Dick, had a massive heart attack on June 30th, and then the beginnings of another one on Sunday, July 6th. His left anterior descending artery, the main artery that feeds blood to the heart, was 100% blocked.
As soon as Dick said, “God, it hurts. Call 911,” this was the rundown:
- I called 911.
- I ran next door to get our neighbor, who is a physician.
- I watched the paramedics give Dick an EKG and rush him into the ambulance.
- I heard the driver tell me this was very bad.
- Upon arrival to the hospital, I watched the nurses and doctors inside the emergency room work with lightening speed.
- I watched the double doors swing shut as they ran Dick to the Cath Lab (where they perform a procedure to look inside the arteries).
- I called our children … and then I waited.
When the doctor came to see me in the waiting room at 2:30 AM, he said that Dick was a lucky man. Apparently, 50% of the people who have this type of blockage don’t make it to the hospital. In his case, it was genetic – a blood clot. Who knew he had sticky platelets!
The reason for me telling this story is to make the point we all probably know on an intellectual level: life is fragile and totally unpredictable. But until the human existence of yourself or someone you dearly love comes closer than imaginable to ending, we tend to distract ourselves and minimize the chances of it … until it actually happens. And then it’s too late. It’s too late to:
- whisper “I love you.”
- make a favorite meal.
- give a long, lingering kiss.
- go away for a special occasion.
- write a love note.
- give a massage.
- put a rose on a pillow.
- wash a car, sew on a button, or do the dishes.
- give a surprise gift.
- notice the good qualities.
I am putting out a request to all of you who are reading this blog post. I’d like you to immediately call, text, e-mail, fax, or go directly to the person you deeply love and express your love for that person. That’s right, not tonight, not tomorrow, not in two hours, but NOW! Ready … set … GO!
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