I watched someone in my office building being whisked away last week by EMT on a stretcher to the nearest hospital. She had come into work like any ol’ normal workday and, a few short moments later, had her chest exposed while random strangers were doing rhythmic compressions in an attempt to save her life.
I don’t personally know this woman as we work for different companies, but I recognized her because she and I eat in the same cafeteria on the first floor of a multi-story building. I’ve had her on my mind for several days. As of Friday, I had learned she was breathing on her own after having been without oxygen for an extended period of time. And after this weekend, I’ve learned she is able to sit up in bed.
While I have no doubt she likely faces a long road to recovery, it seems that miracles do happen.
Prior to this incident, I planned on sharing my thoughts about a school assignment given by a third grade teacher in Colorado to her students. It’s been passed around through various social media platforms under the heading “I Wish My Teacher Knew.” If you haven’t already heard about these powerful testimonies, check out the story here and here.
There are a lot of things that I wish the people close to me knew. There are things I wish the people I barely know knew.
I’m not a big fan of funerals. In fact, I really detest them. But the one thing that I take away from every funeral I attend is the feeling of love. Love from the people who gather to memorialize the deceased. It is both beautiful and gut-wrenching to hear people talk so fondly of the person who is no longer here with them in physical form.
I know I’m not the first to think these thoughts, but why do we tend to wait to tell the people we care about how we feel about them until they aren’t with us to receive the message?
Below are some of my I Wish My (fill in the blank) Knew messages if you’d like to read them. If you feel so inclined, I would encourage you to add your own in the comments section or just share them directly with those you care about.
Don’t wait to tell people how you feel about them. Nothing in life is more important than love and relationships.
I wish my husband knew that I feel grateful and not always deserving to be loved so deeply by him.
I wish my oldest child knew that I think he’s a lot like his dad, which explains why he both inspires and infuriates me. And that I know without a doubt that he can surpass his goals. I wish he knew how much his future excites me and how I enjoy watching every second of it unfold.
I wish my middle child knew how brave and kind I think he is for always thinking about others before himself (his siblings being excluded from that general rule of course). And how I fight back tears knowing he will always give me a genuine hug and smile no matter how old he gets.
I wish my youngest knew that when people say that she looks and acts just like me, it fills me up. I wish she knew that I look forward to her loud, unapologetic laughter every morning when I first wake up and her soft, deliberate storytelling every night before I fall asleep.
I wish my dad knew that I still look up to him to this day and always will.
I wish my mom knew that not a day goes by when I don’t count my blessings that she is still in my life to guide me.
I wish my sister knew that I love her for introducing me to rock music, snow skiing, and softball. (But I still don’t forgive her for chasing me around the house with her clarinet while blaring the theme song from Jaws.)
I wish my grandparents knew that I still miss them and everything they stood for.
I wish the entire family I married into knew that I had no idea when I said “I Do” how much they would shape my life for the better.
I wish my super close friends knew that I don’t tend to have that many of them and that they are one of the rare few because they are understanding, funny, patient, kind, and have pushed me beyond my limits.
I wish my dog knew that I never want her to cross the rainbow bridge, but when she does, I want her to look after our other dog because I have no doubt he’s still stupid in heaven (and I say that lovingly).
I wish my coworkers knew that I want them to consider me a good, reliable colleague. And that I recognize there is more in each of us than the professional hats we wear and more that defines us beyond the four walls in which we interact.
I wish my children’s teachers knew this.
I wish my kids’ coaches knew how much of an influence they are leaving on every young life that they touch and that I am thankful for every moment they’ve chosen to invest.
I wish those of you reading this right now knew that I write as a way to release my thoughts when I can’t always verbalize them. You taking time out of your day to read this means a lot to me.
I wish God knew I still rely on him.
I wish the woman who suffered a heart attack last week knew that I am thankful she survived to live another day.
Written by Heidi Woodard