too often, we don't give people our compliments, our attention, or our time until they are dead.
it breaks my heart when someone dies, and only then do their friends remark what a great person they were; and some people talk to them as if they were still alive. you can also see this whenever someone famous dies, and all the news stations tell the story of the person’s life and all the great things they did.
I’m sure that dead people would appreciate everything we say to them, but ... they’re dead. the truth is, talking to the dead isn’t for the dead; it’s for the living. it’s a way for living people to feel better about not saying what they should have said before it was too late. it’s really kind of sad—if a person has something nice to say to you, wouldn’t you rather hear it when you're alive than when you’re dead?
don’t wait until people are dead to give them your appreciation. do it while they’re alive.
over the next few weeks, I'm going to get in touch with everyone I ever wanted to say something to, and I'm going to say it to them. and once I'm caught up, I'll never fall behind again. if I want to tell my best friend how much I value their thoughts, I'll tell them immediately. I won't wait until some other time. if I want to tell that cute girl I barely know, that I really love her smile, I'll tell her right away. saving a compliment for later could very well mean saving it for never.
even if saying everything as soon as possible doesn’t feel right to you, don’t wait until someone’s death to say it. if we only show people our appreciation after they die, and then each following year on the anniversary of the day they died, we're essentially celebrating their deaths. instead, let’s celebrate people’s lives, and let’s do that by recognizing people on their birthdays, not their deathdays.
take the time on someone's birthday to give them a compliment or write them a nice message. keep doing it all the time if you’re up for it. when someone does die, I want to have already said to them and done for them every thing I wanted to. and so it follows that if I live to attend my best friend's funeral, I hope that I will have absolutely nothing to say to them, because I will have said it already.