Thursday, March 21, 2013

Last Words (Slice 21 of 31)

This post is a part of the Slice of Life challenge which is hosted on the Two Writing Teachers blog. The month of March the challenge is to write a blog post a day.

Last night, my husband and I decided to continue watching How I Met Your Mother. We had forgotten about the fact that at the end of the last episode we were watching Marshall's dad died.  This episode was all about the last words people speak before passing on.  The characters made a big deal about last words and Marshall had a hard time because he thought his father did not really give him any gems before passing.  It made me cry thinking about the way I feel so desperate when I leave the people I love, even for the most mundane errands.  After losing loved ones, I am careful about what I say before parting from them "just in case."  But if I think carefully about it, I really don't think it is all that important to have the last words be perfect.

I actually don't know what the last words my father spoke to me were.  I do know we were worried about him all day because he felt like it was something to do with his heart.  Some of our conversation that day was about renewing his Nitro prescription.  And then, after dinner, time sped up and there was a whirlwind of calling 9-1-1 and running to get my neighbor to help my mother and ambulances and fire trucks and police cars and anxious waiting while trying to reassure my little sister but knowing that my dad was not going to survive.  I do understand the reason people think so much about last words, but I do not think that it is that important.  What does matter is the lasting impression of love and caring that you have of your loved one.  My father was never big on words, but what he did say was priceless.  I was comfortable enough with my dad to talk about my insecurities and things that most girls would only talk to their mothers about.  That is what sticks with me...not whatever he might have said on the last day he was here.

On the other hand, I do know what my grandmother's last words to me were.  In this case, my grandmother had a long battle with COPD and slowly deteriorating health.  She knew she was dying and was at peace with it.  I was one of the last people to talk to her while she was conscious and it was simple, "you know you're loved."  It was her way of saying good-bye.  I treasure that special message that was just for me, but if she hadn't said it I would have still known.

I am lucky that I have always had people in my life that love me and accept me and surround me with support.  Although words are important and can have a lasting effect, the relationships that I have in my life are worth far more than words can express.

So, while I will still remember to always say, "I love you" when parting from people I love, I will know that it is my actions that speak louder and that all of my loved ones know that they are loved.  In the sitcom, Marshall realized also that it didn't really matter what his father's last words to him were, because he was loved and that is what matters.  Remembering and honoring our loved ones is what is the most important, not obsessing over their last words.   


  1. Remembering and honoring our loved ones is what is the most important, not obsessing over their last words.

    Thank you for the reminder.
    I didn't know my dad's last words. He died alone in his room at the hospital. But I will always know he loved me.

  2. I missed that episode of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, but it sounds poignant. I agree that the way you live your life and how you treat those you love is much more important that the last words you might say.

  3. Yes, how you treat your love...and respect...those are what people remember. Last words are nice...but if none are said, it is really the messages we send everyday though how we treat others. Jackie

  4. Your last line says it all.