What To Tell and When: A Writer Wednesday Post

November 6th, 2013 | Posted by Irene in Essays

AndeeSisterLove, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden 2013

To listen to this post, please click here: What to Tell and When

They call each other “Brother” and “Sister.”  She’s watching him open a birthday present. If she hadn’t insisted on a party and traveled to New York last week,  Brother might have let the milestone slip.

Sister has a longer journey up ahead. When she leaves depends on what is dissolving and what is resolving within her. But it is near enough that tonight I’m prompted to ask, “What do you want him to know when you’re gone? What can I tell him you said?”

“Oh so much, so much. I’d have to sit and write it down.”  “And so you might, but what’s the first thing that popped into your head?”

“Admiration. I want him to know I admire him, how much he’s been through, all the obstacles he’s overcome.” We share a rich and satisfying conversation that helps me know my old friend even better, words which will help me help him when he needs it.

The lighted cake appears, the song is sung, cards and gifts are opened and it’s time for us to go.  I take Brother aside to say good night. Suddenly, I think, Why wait till she’s gone? We can’t know love too soon or too often.

“I’m going to tell you something tonight, and then I’m gonna tell you again another time.” I told him what I’d asked and what she said. I’ll tell him again when the time comes.

If someone you know will be leaving us, perhaps you can offer such an opportunity. Love, expressed in the present, put by for the future, when this is the past.  No wonder they say it’s eternal.


How have you eased such departures?

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  • MARK

    Hey Irene, Love this post… for me, growing older, like any “stage” in life has its own set of “positives” and ” negatives”…. It seems knowledge and wisdom, in general, do grow and Increase just as the body’s strength and vitality slowly wanes.

    . I visited my aunt in Kansas this summer after many years of not having seen her…. I met her ” companion” Phil — with whom she has had a decades long relationship. They both loved traveling and and had criss-crossed the U.S making over 100 or more trips together …. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with a terminal illness last month. …… I sent him a card / note this week. This small gesture meant so much to him and my aunt…. Another friend received news her father is doing poorly and likely not to live past the New Year. Saying goodbye means traveling to another state. … an offer to care for pets while away and a lasagna to be waiting upon their return was so welcome… and the moment to remind these dear friends that they mean so much to me, that having their support while

    enduring the difficulties of life with their support has meant so much to me —- that was when the tears started, in recognition of the importance of our friendship —the comfort, laughter, tears, and support given over the years… the commitment to help each other through the difficulties and challenges of life…. to be there for ” the long haul”.

  • giom

    …just read this…it is beautiful…it is about letting go…but also holding on…

    • IreneOGarden

      Thanks, dear giom–and she is still with us!

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