My wife often tells me I am a buffoon, and to be quite honest, she may have a point.
Generally, women tend to be practical about most things. They have friendships where they share everything. They are more open about their feelings, too. They are not afraid to show how much they love either.
When it comes to wives, they know it all but just wish their men would open up a bit.
Men, on the other hand, think they have in their heads the equivalent of the nuclear missile codes never to be mentioned to anyone. Ever. In their minds, they are protecting the world, and that means you have to be physically as strong as Thor and mentally as strong as Rambo. Except none of us are.
But before all you women reading this start celebrating with a dance and skip, you are not perfect. Because one of the regrets men and women have in life is that they did not say enough about how they feel about the ones they love. And then it’s all too late.
If I ever end up in hell – and let’s be honest, there is a good chance of that happening – it will be unlikely I will ever see my wife or kids again because they will be too busy enjoying themselves after getting through the pearly gates of heaven. So, in theory, anything I want to say to them has to be said before the ticker decides to stop ticking.
So, for some reason, we are secretive about how we feel about the ones we love.
A UK journalist, George Alagiah, died of bowel cancer recently. At his memorial, his words were read out.
He said, ‘’If you haven’t already told the people, you love that you love them, tell them. If you haven’t already told them how vulnerable you sometimes feel, tell them.
If you want to tell them that you would like to be with them until the front hall stairs feel like Everest, tell them. You never know what is coming around the corner. And if lucky you, there is nothing around the corner, then at least you got your defence in first.”
Sometimes, I am not sure what is better. Dying instantly (such as a heart attack or car crash) where you suffer less or a longer illness such as cancer where you suffer more but have time.
Instant death is shocking, but there are a lot of loose ends or unfinished business. Long illnesses allow you to say your goodbyes and get your affairs in order, but it means your loved ones suffer watching you in pain.
George was of the opinion that death from cancer was in some ways less brutal than a car crash as it allowed for time for reflection. He said:
“It is a painful yet exclusive luxury to be living with cancer because, for the most part, it is a story of a death foretold. Many of us cancer patients know that our time is running out so there is time for reflection. It is not the brutality of a car crash.”
As I said, I am unsure. But I will let you into a secret.
When I was lying on a hospital bed with potentially 30 minutes left to live, there were only a few thoughts I had. None related to money. None related to ‘trophy assets’ or things I had collected. My thoughts were about my mother, my siblings and, of course, my wife. And also, the fact that I did not speak to my children that morning.
But I was lucky and given a second chance.
Like all things that jolt you, I made changes. Yes, I am a bit more open. I now never leave the home without wishing my children a good day, and I let them know I love them. If they leave home before me, I make sure I am at the door to wish them a good time.
So, take it from me and George – don’t wait. Make sure you tell those you love that you love them. Do not assume they know. They probably do, but when you say it, it lights them up, and that is about as good as it gets.
If you would like to know more contact Hitesh at email@example.com or Ros at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 440 316.