No Regrets: Before You Say Goodbye, Say "I Love You"

There are few things as powerful as regret to rob us of peace after the loss of a loved one.

A few years ago I attended a birthday party for Gloria, a beloved elderly friend. Before the party, Gloria’s daughter invited the guests to share a special memory of Gloria at the party. Being a writer, I wrote mine out.

Blank notepad, coffee cup and orange gerbera flowers

Photo courtesy of Crestock.com

As I thought about Gloria and her impact on my life, the words poured out onto the page.

June 30, 2012

Dearest Gloria,

My love for you was born several years ago at Bible study when you shared the story of your life with God. As you talked, it assured me that everything I believed about God’s love and character was true, for your stories of God’s gracious presence and faithfulness bore it out. So when I started working as a caregiver for you, it didn’t take but two visits before I fell in love with you.

Working for you was such a special time in my life. My favorite memories all merge as reflect on listening to you talk about your life and God’s hand in it. I loved listening to stories of your childhood, college life, and your missionary adventures.

With each tale, my faith grew stronger as the reality of a God who truly walks among His people surfaced, again and again. Many times your stories and your simple joy in God Himself soothed my fears and anxieties as I watched Christians close to me falling away from God.

During times when I wondered if it was possible to make it through life loving God with all our heart, your joyful singing of some hymn or recounting of some blessing from God, amidst pain, amidst personal sorrow, strengthened my heart and faith. Your mere presence stands as a powerful, ongoing reminder to me that God is good, He is faithful, and He tenderly cares for His own.

You have been one of God’s greatest gifts to me.

He has used your friendship to fortify my faith and to provide the hope, fuel, and long range perspective I needed. Your faithful example has filled me with hope that perhaps I, too, can make it across the finish line, praising God.

Although your body is weak from life’s journey, your spirit is strong. And I know the power of your testimony will provide the strength your feet lack to carry you across the finish line of faith.

Gloria you are indeed “tested and approved” and you wear the name of Christ well.

“Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)

Next to my immediate family and my own mother, you are nearer and dearer to my heart than anyone else I know.

I love you, Gloria!

Yesterday I attended Gloria’s memorial service. She was 94 when God folded her frail body into His arms and carried her through the door to her heavenly home. And at the service, I was able to remember Gloria without wishing I’d shared my words of love and praise with her “when I had the chance.” I was free to share what Gloria had meant to me — without regret.

This has not always been the case for me.

So I am grateful I had the opportunity to tell Gloria how much she meant to me and the impact she made on my life while she was still around to be blessed by it.

What about you? Who needs to hear how much you love them and the impact they’ve made in your life? Life is fragile, don’t wait another minute! Sit down and write it out. Then bless their heart by sharing it with them. Trust me, it’s something you’ll never regret.

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  1. It was very touching to hear at the service and to read again. I love you, Bethany. May God bless as you carry on though you miss her deeply.

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