Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What are you waiting for?


I have this old friend. We've been friends for over ten years, but over the past couple of years we've fallen out of touch, and things even got a bit hurtful. We both tiptoed around the subject for a long time, hearing "he said, she said" things about each other, which only fueled the negativity of this situation.  I thought about this friend a lot, as we were still in the same circle of friends, same social networking sites, etc. I had nothing but love for her, but was so confused as to how things had gotten so terribly off course. People change, yes, but when you are friends with someone for so many years, it's beyond sad when the entire climate of the relationship changes, without any chance to talk to figure things out. Then just the other week I had had enough. We ended up texting, then talking on the phone, and realizing that what our mutual "upset-ness" was based on was entirely false and only spurred on by something totally untrue. It was amazing to be able to talk with her and made me think about how much time had been wasted; how much negativity had been between us for such a long time that didn't even have to be there. Yes, we may have still grown apart and gone separate ways, but all of the hurt feelings and sad thoughts were completely unnecessary and wouldn't have ever happened had one of us just reached out.

So this got me thinking- why do we wait to tell people things that are on our minds?  Maybe you have an apology you've been holding onto. Maybe you have an "I love you" you haven't said. Maybe, like me, you've been thinking about something for a long time but haven't moved forward with talking about it.

When I think about things I'd like to say to people, a few things come to mind. I'd like to write a letter to my Dad and tell him how proud of him I am and how thankful I am for all the sacrifices he's made for our family. I want my best friend to know how much joy she brings to my life. I want my Mom to know how much I look up to her, and I want my sister to know how much I love her. And Hank. I tell him all of the time, but I want him to really feel that love, and to make sure he knows that I see him, I get him, I appreciate him more than he knows. And then there's a professor I'm not in contact with anymore, but I think about her often and I'd love to share with her how influential she was in my life.

I carry these thoughts around with me, thinking that I should do this, write this, reach out to this person. But more often than not, I don't (kind of sad to admit). But when I had this experience with my old friend, it inspired me to make changes in my life and be in the moment, and tell people all of these things in my heart. We don't know if we have tomorrow. And that sounds so cliché, but it's true. Nothing is a guarantee.

Four years ago I lost one of my closest friends very tragically and unexpectedly.  I had seen him just that afternoon and we had plans that very evening. When we saw each other that last time we gave each other a big hug and said "I love you," before he went on his way, and I went on mine. How was I to know that that would be the last time I ever saw him?  I think about him everyday, and I think about that moment. I feel so grateful that my very last memory of him is that hug in the library, that "I love you sister" he said to me, and those blue, blue eyes. I miss him so much, but being able to have told him how much I loved him means the world to me.

And then just a few years ago my father had a heart attack while at work and fell very hard in the process, hitting his head. They were able to revive him at the hospital twice, but he was unconscious for a long while and they warned us that if he ever came to, he probably wouldn't be able to speak or do much.  It was heartbreaking, and even more so because I felt like I had been carrying around so many things in regards to my father; some anger and resentment, some things I never got to ask him, and worst of all, I felt like he maybe didn't really know how much he was loved. It was hard to sit with him over those next few weeks not knowing if he'd come around, with so many things left unsaid.

Both of these sadnesses remind me not to wait, not to hold back, just to say what needs to be said and to express your love, gratitude, forgiveness, and whatever else you may be holding onto.  It's a reminder to have an open heart and share any joy you have with the people around you; to always be sure they know they are loved.  Since I've started trying to live my life more in the now, I feel like it's helped me enjoy the now even more. Like I said above, there are no guarantees. All I know is I don't want to waste any of the time I have, and I want to be sure that all of the people I love know how much I love them.

So with that said, do you have anything you've been carrying around? Have you been harboring negative feelings towards something you need to let go of, forgiveness you need to give, or an apology you've been meaning to make? Or maybe you have something positive that should be shared, an I love you you need to convey. What are you waiting for?


  1. This brought me to tears. I am not a fighter or a dramatic person, but for similar reasons to your situation, my best friend and I had a falling out last year. It was very painful and hurtful things were said on both ends. I think about her daily, and just last week, I got a letter from her. Life is too short. Thanks for your honesty and reminding me to make the most of my days here and tell the people in my life how much I love them.

  2. I can't even tell you how much this post resonates with me. When a really good friend of mine passed away just under a year ago, I found myself realizing that there was so much I wished I had said to her. That's why more than ever I try and tell people what's on my mind and I am always grateful for the people in my life. Most importantly I remembered how to forgive and stop holding grudges, because I can't imagine that being the last feeling I have towards someone who means the world to me.

    Really great post!

  3. I just got back in touch with someone on Sunday. We've known each other for 13 years and sadly the person who tore us apart was her sister. We decided to patch things up and work on our friendship.

  4. wow danielle, what an amazing post. you are totally right...nothing is promise and we have to live each day like we are never going to see another..thank you for reminding me of this..you are a beautiful soul!

  5. This post definitely brought tears to my eyes. My best friend and I had a falling out this year. While I know it was for the best, I do need to let go of some hurt feelings.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this, Dani. <3

  6. Kudos to you for being the one to reach out to your friend. I think we can all relate to these sentiments in some way.

  7. This had me in tears. I have been a critical care nurse for the last two years and it has deeply affected me. I am with people through their most vulnerable times, witnessing them whisper I love yous and I'm sorry. It has changed the way I live, making me so much more aware of each day and how precious it is. Thank you so much for writing about this, we all need to be more mindful about how we treat the ones we love, how we communicate and learn to forgive.

  8. I worry sometimes that I say 'I love you' too much. Him Indoors hears it least 10 times a day.
    I mean it when I say it. I just want people to know it.
    I love my man, I love my parents, I love my siblings, I love my friends.
    The fact is I don't know what is coming around the corner,illness, diease, a runaway double decker bus.... but at least I know everyone I care about knows I love them.

  9. This is such a beautiful post, It actually made me cry. I have been thinking a lot lately about someone that I hurt, who didn't deserve it (not that anyone deserves to be hurt)...someone who I let down. I have been rehearsing what I would say to her over and over again in my head and just haven't had the guts to come out and admit my fault...fully and wholeheartedly.

    Yesterday on the subway, I saw a girl who looked just like her and to me it was almost a sign...this person has been in my mind day in and day out...what I would say to them, how I would admit my mistakes and not even necessarily ask for forgiveness but just let her know that I am sorry.

    Thank you for this post, I am certainly not going to wait any longer.


  10. Fantastic post. Brian and I are actually in the process of writing letters to people that have held a place in our minds for one reason or another. It's like sending a message in a bottle to sea. I wish I could fix everything, but writing letters and talking to people at least helps me let go. It feels good to acknowledge what happened in the past and accept it or realize that it never really happened the way you thought it did.

    I think I'll tumbl this<3

  11. For me, it isn't finding the right time...
    It is finding the right words.

  12. This post is so beautiful and humbling. Everything that you said is true and we need this little reminder every now and then. Life is so very precious and we have to let those close to our hearts know just how much they mean to us as often as we can.

  13. If there is one thing that I have learned in my fathers recent passing, it is that life is too short to hold things in, hold words in, feelings in. Let them be known and own them. The people in your life need to know what they mean to you and why they are so important to you. It is so very important to tell them you love them... every single chance you get!

  14. this hits home for me. why is it so hard to make the first call though?? thanks for the reminder.

  15. Years ago I learned that we must always say "I love you. " Always, always. All the time.
    But there was a time in my life where I had hate and anger and never said so.
    Things change, much better for good.

    <3 <3

  16. Thank you for this post. We really need to stop and thank the people in our lives.

  17. I relate to both aspects of this post....
    Friendship: I had a very similar experience with my best friend from highschool. We grew apart and things slowly went from us both knowing that there was something "off" and not saying anything to extremely hurtful and (in retrospect) silly. We are now on casual friend terms with one another. I think both having babies made us realize how sad and silly it was to keep being upset.
    Reaching Out: This is a department I feel great about. In fact, just last night I wrote a card to my sister to tell her how much I love her, appreciate her, cherish her-even though I talk to her every day. I love sending care packages (chocolate, a good book, a Hepburn movie, tea etc.) to someone without reason. It makes me feel great! In fact I'm going to set things into motion today and create a monthly care package challenge via my blog!

    Your story about losing your friend is very sad. Last Friday my husband witnessed a young kid, a senior in high school who was set to graduate that evening, run over by a semi truck. He tried to help but the boy died. We are feeling very raw and aware of how short life is. We decided that evening to be better about bickering, being grumpy, complaining... I think your discovery is a universal experience. Thanks for reminding us.


  18. I just want to let you know this post inspired me to mend a relationship with an old best friend. Thanks..


  19. I love how heartfelt your posts are. This one is no different. I totally agree with you on all of this. I try to tell people what I want to say, when I want to say it, but like you, I often find myself wondering about an old teacher that inspired me. Sometimes I say I'll search for her, then something comes up, you've inspired me to try again.

    I hope everyone takes this and goes with it. Tomorrow is NOT guaranteed. I am SOOOOO happy you had that last experience with your friend. What a blessing. God works in magical ways.

    I try to never go to bed angry at some one.



  20. i've had a few friends in the past that have hurt me, and i'm sure in turn i have hurt them. some of them i have reconciled with, and some i have not.

    the thing i learned is that reconciliation and forgiveness is so good for us. it doesn't mean that we have to be friends again, it just means that we're okay and can move on.

    i've tried reconciling with others in the past and sometimes they just won't have it. the saddest one was a lifelong friend who had decided to believe outrageous lies about me and my family spread by another family member who was a thief and a liar. to this day she has never apologized for the mean, hurtful, cruel, self-righteous slander she said to me and about me and my family... but i still forgave her, even though she didn't ask for it.

    that one is hard because, though i can forgive her, there is no way i would let that kind of poison back into my life.

    i had a roommate in college once say to me, "just because you're a Christian, it doesn't mean you have to be friends with everyone."

    some people just cannot get along and being a part is better than trying to force a friendship.

    i loved reading your post and i'm so sorry about those you have lost, especially so suddenly and unexpectedly, but have faith! you are awesome and i'm glad that you are listening to your heart :)

    ~Andrea @ http://hecallsmewifey.blogspot.com/

  21. Amazing post, amazing words you wrote down! I totally agree with you, life is too short and we can't live most of our days forgetting it! Deep in our heart we all know how much this is true and I thank you for this little reminder.. <3

    I follow your blog from Italy, I discovered it by chance and today your touching words led me to leave my first comment..so, thank you again and congrats for the blog and for your beautiful family!

    ps.sorry if my english isn't perfect..I try my best!
    CIAO from Florence, Italy! :)

  22. I had this realization, too, but it was actually at a funeral of all places. There were so many amazing things said about the lost life. They were celebrating and saying amazing things, and it got me thinking how come this is never said when we are alive?

    Beautiful writing, Dani.

  23. This is absolutely beautiful (I was expecting this to be Week 8, though, so now I'm confused...!). It's so easy to take people for granted so thanks for the reminder.

  24. The beginning of this post made me think I had a friend like this, but then you said it was all based on false things.

    I have had these moments with this friend for a few years, where things get weird or distant, then after some time, we resolve in some way and I think we'll be stronger but then it happens again in a different way. It's rarely things that anyone has said... its just being different and having different priorities. It's been really hard because part of me feels like I need to just give it up already. I don't think that I am a person who goes without saying how I feel much which is really great because I don't feel like I take a lot of people for granted... I wish I told my friends little things like how cute or pretty they were on random days but I always resist. Other than that though, I always feel the need to have it all out there and have people know my feelings. Sometimes too much really.

    Anyway, this friend, I was hoping your story would help push me in a direction. Because I'm pretty sure I will just have to let it go. I have communicated as best I can and I think she just communicates differently and wants different things. I want to know how to know that it's time to let a relationship go and have peace about it, knowing that you have wanted to give that person friendship for years and feeling like it hasn't really gone anywhere. I guess I feel like somehow we've never grown deep together but I've always wanted to. Ugh, sorry. You got some longwinded responses to your post.

    Good post! Haha. I'm glad so many people were encouraged. And I'm sorry that I was hoping our stories were the same because I would rather have had your outcome. Haha. I am really glad you guys are reconciled.

  25. So weird you posted this because I have been feeling the exact same way! I too have lost touch with a good friend of mine & I am in confusion as to why. I've gotten a text from her recently asking why I was talking "shit" about her... of course there was nothing coming out of my mouth! I keep alot of things in too- I guess you can say I like to avoid conflict? It's been frustrating though because no matter what I do or no matter what I say/ OR DO NOT SAY, unnecessary conflict always creeps up on me :/

    Something I need to work on: Expressing my feelings.

    I guess that's just what makes us real though. REAL PEOPLE HAVE REAL PROBLEMS.

    Hope things get better with you girly, have a nice day!


  26. ...really beautiful post...and it has really got me thinking about those things I want to say but never have...not sure that I ever will but this has been very inspiring! Thank you for sharing :)

  27. This is amazing. :) I've been battling with whether or not to call my own father on Father's Day this coming weekend because we've barely spoken to one another over the last 2 years...it's something I'm struggling with for much the same reasons, the negativity, the hurt feelings, etc. This really came at a great time. THANK YOU! <3

  28. fabulous post. I just love this. I think everyone can respond and relate to this.

  29. i had a very similar (sounding) situation that happened about a year ago to me. it put things in persepective for me to the point that i began writing letters to my loved ones. i posted them on my blog and it LOL:letters of love. you might be interested in it:

  30. Thank you for that post.
    I guess I needed to hear that. Last year a very weird thing happened and my best friend and I grew apart. We got so caught up in our own lives and eventually "growing apart" turned into "we're no longer friends and its the other ones fault" To this day I still dont really know what happened between us and I guess its time to act like an adult and just reach out and tell her how Ive been feeling. THANK YOU.

  31. Sometimes it's really silly not to be straight-forward with someone, but when feelings are hurt, things have been said, it's hard to reach out and be the bigger person.
    Unfortunately, in most cases that would probably solve the situation. (But sometimes it doesn't and then you feel even worse.)

  32. this was such a beautiful and inspiring post!

  33. A touching post Danielle & very very true... I always tell my boyfriend how much I love him but it doesn't seem to come so naturally to tell others & it's something we probably all should do more often.

  34. My best friend and I had a falling out about a year ago... still not sure how I feel other than bitter, unappreciated, taken advantage of, thrown away like trash... I wonder if she feels the same way?
    Thanks for writing this, Danielle.

  35. Thank you so much for this beautiful post and your honesty. Sadly I recently drifted apart from a friend. I noticed we were drifting when we started to communicate less and less. Then one day I went to message her on Facebook to see how she was doing as she was living abroad at the time and noticed she unfriended me. It hurt, but I moved on from it. While I haven't tried to communicate with her since, I have made peace with the situation. I have wished her well in my mind and in my heart and I have moved on. Friendships end sometimes. But it made me cherish the strong bonds I have and remember how easily they can break.

    I also lost a dear childhood friend years ago. While it's been a while since he passed on, I still think about him a lot and cherish the times we had. Just before he died, I rememeber spending a good two hours in the house just talking to him. While it's a shame his life was cut so short, I am so glad we got to have that conversation. We were both heading in positive directions in our lives and we were so proud of each other. It's great to hold on to that memory.

    Thank you again for this. It was a great post to read.

    - Jessica

  36. I totally know what you mean... In the last 4 years, I've lost my father, my brother, and my sister. I try so hard to take these experiences as catalysts to spur me on in life and go after what I want, but sometimes it's totally paralyzing... Your post brought all those thoughts back for me and reminds me that I need to push forward and live my life. There are so many things I wish I had been able to do with my family. We can't take anything for granted...

    I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, but so happy for you that you had that moment together. Thanks for the great post. <3

  37. Oh sweet Danielle, I absolutely adored this post.
    I adore your heart and how well you express it.

    I cant tell you how many times I've felt this way, and how many things have made me realize just how short life is.
    It's not worth it, to not love as much and as hard as you can.

    I sure do love YOU.

    You're beautiful.

  38. What an endearing post; so thought provoking too.

    There are some positive things that I need to write down and share with the ones closest to me. I always make it a point to tell people how I feel, but sometimes a heartfelt letter really is the most amazing gift a person can give and receive.

    Beautiful post, Danielle.

  39. I needed this post so much, Danielle. Thank you.

    But what do you do when you want to apologize/forgive someone you feuded and parted ways with, but genuinely feel they are not ready to make the same step? Is it worth putting yourself out there, being the bigger person, if they aren't going to return the favour that you honestly feel you do deserve? It is troubling me on the daily...

    I think I might email you about this later. Thank you again - so much - for writing this. So well-worded.

  40. wow this post brings a lot of things home for me. I too had a falling out (as such) with three of my primary school/high school friends - think around 17 years of friendship). I haven't spoken to them for around 2 years (except wishing them all well on their wedding days last year when they all got married)!! maybe i might stop being the stubborn one. thanks!!

  41. wow i love the layout for this blog
    tuxandtie.blogspot.com / www.alexingram.com

  42. This post is a great example of how many readers resonated with you through life lessons and experiences. I have gone through this myself similar to you. My best friend and I did not speak to each other for almost two years and I was the one who reached out to her. So I am glad I did. Thanks for writing this. I just shared this post link on my Facebook to share with friends and others...

    Thank you for taking time out of your busy life as a mother to Henry to write this post.

  43. My cheeks are wet with tears. Thank you for this post. Really.

  44. This made me cry. You are a treasure, Danielle, and I'm so blessed to call you a friend. <3

  45. I love this post! this was a really great reminder to speak up! thanks for the great words, danielle :)

  46. I love what you said. That reminded me of a friend I had once, and we were close friends through high school and after, and then she moved away and I visited her there, and then after that, we were pretty much done. Her side of things, not mine. She has apologized to me about it, but hasn't really spoken to me since. It's hard. And I understand what you mean, about wanting to talk whoever you want to tell something to, to just do it. It's really inspiring.
    Oh, and I read your piece on the 'HelloGiggles' site. It was funny. Loved it.

  47. Wow, I bet you weren't expecting so many people to relate to what you're going through, huh?

    I had a similar falling out with a dear friend. We were attached at the hip all through childhood. After high school we drifted apart with college, loves, work, lives. It happened that I hurt her dearly when she was not in our wedding party, so that led us to a conversation much like you described in this post. Sure, things aren't as they once were, but there's definitely peace on that relationship.

    I, too, hold things in for some unknown reason, but I've been trying to be a more ACTIVE participant in my relationships. It's a good goal.

  48. Danielle, I loved this post so much and, as you know, found so much inspiration from it. Thank you again, my friend, for the incredibly sweet comment on my post and for being the awesome person that you are. <3

  49. oh how i loved this post. thank you for getting me thinking!

  50. Thank you for this. It is a great reminder to always remember who is most important in your life and let them know how special they are to you.
    It kind of reminds me of "Never Too Late," a song by Michael Franti and Spearhead.

  51. Beautiful reminder, Danielle. I really needed this. Thanks for sharing... :)

  52. what a beautiful post and valuable reminder!

    i had to learn the hard way that the time you have with someone is/may be too short. i lost both my parents very unexpectedly - my dad when i was 19 and my mom when i was 25 years old - and to this day i am still dealing with what "i wish i had said or done". especially regarding my dad, whom i was somewhat distant with during my teenage years.

    i then lost an uncle just last december whom i hadn't talked to in ten years but always thought "i should stop by some time and catch up". now it's too late...

    time is so precious. don't wait when you feel like something is important. listen to your gut and instincts. there's not too many "i love you"s when they come from the heart.

    also, i LOVE the idea of writing a letter to my best friend to let her know what she already knows: how much she and our 20+ years of friendship means to me. thank you for the inspiration! xoxo

  53. hello(:
    This really brought me to tears. It's been long since I've read such a touching post, and it really made me ponder on how I should cherish my family and those close around me. I guess I've never really felt this way before, but thank you, thank you for allowing me to really think on how I've lived my life and how I really want to live my life from now on, how I really want to show my love for my family and friends.
    Thank you, and God bless!

  54. :) I finally told the boy I loved. That I loved him. I was too scared for ages because a different boy had broke my heart so bad, I didn't think I could love again. But I finally found him :) this made me happy, I also started to tell people more about what they mean to me, spend more time in contact with grandparents further away, that sort of thing - fixes a lot of the inside. Thanks for posting this :) x

  55. I always try to remain neutral between any situation but i have been known to speak my mind. It is hard for me to say "sorry" very hard... but I know this about myself so when I am in an argument with someone, I try very very hard to see where the other person is coming from to avoid making myself look like an ass, and have to apologize. I have a handful of friends that even if they did something.. that hurt me very badly.. I would still try to work on our friendship afterwards but on the other side of the coin these are people I consider sisters and brothers who I know would probably never hurt me.

    Good post sweets.

  56. amazing post!!! Really made me think about some stuff I've carrying around.... thank you!

  57. This is exactly what i need to hear. Thank you so much for your honesty!!

    Ps. Also, i have been a follower of your blog for a few months now and it just so happens i recently finished my list of books to read. I've seen some that you have mentioned or read in the past and was wondering if you could recommend some great books to read now, I would love your opinion.

  58. Thanks for posting this. I lost my dad to suicide almost two years ago and will forever regret that I blew off his request for me to come over the day prior because I was sick and wanted to take a nap before work. I missed out on what was my last chance to hug my dad and will always regret it. Even if I'm fighting with someone, I now always make sure to end the conversation saying I love them because you just never know.

  59. such beautiful truths. thank you so much for sharing, mama.

  60. what a beautiful coveyance of the tenderness and fragility of feelings and emotions.
    Beautiful writing darling!

  61. The part about your father left me feeling like I needed to call my dad right away. I turned out so differently from what my parents "wanted," that I have a lot of resentment. But still, my dad is my world, and I wonder if I've done enough to share that with him. Thank you for your beautiful post.

  62. This post has still stuck with me a week later. I've had two falling out with friends over the years, and in both situations, it is still confusing trying to make sense of what happened. The first friend broke up with her bf of 10 years, retreated to a dark place and hasn't returned. She dropped contact with me when I wouldn't choose sides. The other was hurt by something my husband said, and apologies from him aside, I was guilty by association. She dropped us instantly, refusing to talk to me and eliminating all contact (social networks, won't respond to texts, calls). At different times, they were considered my closest friends and I tried to reach out, but they're not willing to reconcile. It really hurts. I feel disposable and cheated. Like maybe we weren't that close after all, if these events could lead to such sudden and permanent ends. This happening twice makes me think maybe it is me? Do I place too much value on certain friendships? Or was I caring enough, did I try hard enough?

    I'm a forgiving person. I hate when people harbor bad feelings, and I'm always very eager to make things right. Unfortunately, I don't know what I can do anymore.

    So what if you're on the other end of the stick? I don't feel like I've wronged anyone but I also just have this pit in my stomach thinking about these lost friends. It's hard. It's been years now, and I can't let go of feeling sad when I think of them.

  63. wow, really beautiful post. thank you for sharing this.