Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Write now!

Every time the phone rings, my heart goes into my mouth. Is this the call? The one nobody wants to make or receive?

A dear friend will make the call. Her daughter lies at death’s door, feeling the gauzy wisps of that final veil. It’s a matter of hours or days. Two years ago she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the same malignant brain tumor that took Teddy Kennedy’s life yesterday. 

Jen leaves behind two little girls, who just turned five and seven. Last spring, as she began having trouble finding words to express herself, she determined to write letters to each of her girls, letting them know how much she loved them, the beautiful things she remembered, the joy they have brought to her life, and her hopes for theirs. She wanted to leave them a legacy of her own thoughts and some of her memories of growing up. 

It was too late. She was unable to even begin this project, not even with a video camera instead of her laptop. 

Jen is young. She and my daughter were high school classmates. Nobody under the age of forty expects the road to be that short, and if people in those prime years think at all of writing about their lives, it’s generally in the sense of “I wish my grandparents would (have).” 

Those grandparents, if they are still living, may be intending to do that. As soon as they get around to it. Any day now. Many have died with that intention unrealized.

Today that hesitancy, that reluctance, seems especially poignant. Today as I wait for that phone call, my throat is constricted with urgency. I want to holler from the rooftops:
Pick up those pens. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, syntax, or any of those things you learned in school. Just WRITE. Write now! It doesn’t have to be long or polished, but tell people a little about yourself, and above all, tell them you love them! Give them the gift of yourself and your memories. Before it’s too late!
To help you get started, I included a gift at the top of the page: a Round Tuit. Use it in good health. 

Write now: pick up a pen and paper. If all you can find is the back of junk mail, so be it. Start writing. Leave a few words behind, whatever comes to your mind. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Update: The call came shortly after I posted this. By the way, if you need a Round Tuit, I stamped out the one in the picture myself, and it's my gift to you, copy-right free with no strings attached. Click on the image to get the full-size version, right-click to save, and pass it around. Everybody needs one.


Karen Walker said...

Oh, Sharon, I am so so sorry. It is so hard losing friends, family, but when they are still in their prime, it is especially tragic. Your call to write is so poignant in light of this pending transition. I think about writing down things I want to tell my son, but don't do it. I will now. Thanks.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Don't wait! The phone just rang ...

Helen Ginger said...

What a fabulous, important, post, Sharon.

I'm not sure what to say about your friend's daughter. "I'm sorry" doesn't seem enough.

Straight From Hel

Shaddy said...

A loss like this is overwhelming. There's no way to prepare for such a happening.

I pray your post will get folks writing, now, not tomorrow.

Sharon Lippincott said...


I'm sorry is so reflexive, but what else is there? We need a new language of grief. Sorry for the loss, and yet the whole family has been under incredible tension, so there is also relief. Bottom line: Sorry it had to happen.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Shaddy, I second your hope that people will write. Send everyone a round tuit!

Pat's Place said...

Great suggestion. So sorry about your friend's daughter.