|Ty and I hanging out on a Provincetown, MA beach|
My younger sister and brother and I decided to spend our 2009 spring break in New England to take in all the Northern states we were missing from our "States We've Been To" count. (At that point we needed all of New England (excluding Maine), Delaware, and Louisiana. We got all except for LA on that trip.) We based ourselves in southern Rhode Island and took day trips around the area to experience as much of New England as we could get to in seven days.
One day near the end of the week we drove to Provincetown, Massachusetts on the tip of Cape Cod. After exploring the beaches and town, we headed back in the late afternoon. And on our drive back our conversation led my brother Tyler to suggest we give mini "eulogies" to each other. Although that may sound creepy and weird, it wasn't. It was beautiful and a really special time of sibling bonding where we told each other all the things we loved and appreciated about each other. We spent the drive telling each other things that might have otherwise only been said about the person at a funeral -- rather than to the person while they are living.
This idea had been brewing in Tyler's mind since the summer before, when one of his high school buddies had died in a terrible motorcycle accident. That incident had made Ty realize how important it is to tell people, while they are living, why you appreciate them, how they've made a difference in your life, and, above all, what they mean to you.
And that simple but heartfelt conversation in a 1989 Honda Accord with no heat on a drive from Cape Cod to Rhode Island will never be forgotten. Sometimes, or more like, often, it gets pushed to the back of my mind when other "more important" things crowd in the way. But when all the other distractions are cleared away again, I remember that the most important things in life are relationships, and that one of the most precious things you can do to maintain and grow a relationship is to verbally acknowledge it to the other person.
I'll let a few paragraphs Tyler wrote finish up this post for me, because I could never write these thoughts out as well as he already has:
"Scott's death was painful for me, but out of it grew something beautiful. While Scott's death took away my chance to express my thanks for his friendship, it also gave me thousands of new chances. His passing made me realize how many people in my life are constantly making a positive impact on me, and how few of them are ever thanked for it. As a result, I've thought long and hard about these opportunities, and how I can make the most of them." . . .Take time today to tell the people you love and appreciate why they are special to you. And tell them again and again, whenever you think of it, as much as possible. Because you never know what effect your words might have on them.
"You see, I believe that there are incredible possibilities right at our fingertips. Thousands upon thousands of human beings are within each individual's sphere of influence, and if we work at cultivating this potential, there is no telling what we might be able to achieve. Appreciation is key. Simple affirmation of a person's positive abilities and tendencies makes them want to continue doing good. Expressing your love and thankfulness of another individual causes them to be uplifted and proactive in doing the same to others."
--------------------My thoughts on the prompt 'tell' for last week's Five Minute Friday. Please read the link for more information on why the word 'tell' was chosen. And, of course, join in tomorrow if you feel inspired!
It took me a while to collect my thoughts on last week's prompt, but late is always better than never. :)