Sometimes in life you get a warning, and those lucky times that you do, you should heed that warning with all your heart, for failing to do so will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Yvonne Brookshire was my warning. I knew it then, and I let the opportunity pass me by. Yvonne you need to understand was one of my Mom's best friends. You also need to know that her son Kenny was also one of my best friends.
Yvonne and my mom went shopping together, lunches together, spent hours on the phone with each other talking endlessly about the goings on in the neighborhood. See, Kenny and his mom lived just up the street from us. So Kenny and I played at each other’s houses all the time. Such was our friendship that we would just show up at each other’s door for no apparent reason, just to see what was going on on that side of the neighborhood.
These were the days before cell phones, pagers, email, text, or anything else we use today. It was the days of excitement when seeing someone unexpectedly at the door. The days of “hey, how are you” that was done face to face and in person. It was Mayberry built right there in Lithia Springs.
Well, one day Yvonne did not feel well, so she made a doctor’s appointment. The doctor checked Yvonne out and told her she was fine, go home. A short time later she still didn’t feel well and went to the doctor again, and again the doctor checked her out and told her everything was okay. A third time she goes to the doctor and he tells her she has no problems, go home. Well, Yvonne had a heart attack before she even got to leave the doctor's office. I am sad to say she passed away right there.
Kenny, as you can well understand was devastated. And this was my first real experience that parents were not here permanently; as I’m sure it was for Kenny. I felt for Kenny. But I knew I had no words that would heal his hurt.
I do remember going to Yvonne's funeral. And I remember Kenny standing at his mom’s grave telling her that he loved her. Right then and there at that moment I had a tug at my heart to tell my mom the same thing. But my family was not the touchy feely type, so I didn't. The years came and went, and whenever I thought of Yvonne or Kenny I had the same tug on my heart, but I always let it pass me by without doing anything.
And one day in the late 90s Mom was diagnosed with cancer. And as you can probably tell from the tone of my story it didn't end well for my Mom either. Mom died in January of 1997 with me never telling her that I loved her. And I remember that warning every day. And I remember every day that I did nothing. Zip. Nada. And I live with that every time I think of it.
Oh sometimes I go to the cemetery and I tell Mom I love her, just as Kenny did, but it's not the same. If I could go back and tell her “I love you mom” I would. But life doesn't work that way. We don't get a do-over. And we have to live with our mistakes.
The best we can hope for is a warning. And if you do get such a warning I hope you listen to it. Because as I sit here behind this computer screen remembering all the opportunities I had, and all the opportunities that I let pass me by, I can only hope that maybe now I can serve as a warning to you.
Call your mom. Go see your mom. Do whatever you need to do. Do not let time pass, for tomorrow is not guaranteed. Do it now. Tell your mom you love her. Tell her over the phone, or in person. It has to be your voice. No text, no email, no messages. I don’t know why, but she has to hear your voice. It will make you feel better now. And you will feel better. Later, when you have the opportunity to look back, you will know you did what you should.
It will make a difference. It will make a difference with your mom now. It will make a difference with you later.
This I promise.
But this story does not end here. For you see I now have two sons of my own. Every time I see them I tell them “I love you.” I always have, I always will. We can have the most tremendous disagreement, and when it is over we tell each other “I love you.” We hug often and long. Long endless hugs can heal any hurt.
At the end of the day, when I’m laying down in my bed, I remember the hugs. The hugs and the “I love yous” and somehow that just seems like enough.