3 Things Your Loved Ones Should Hear From You, NOW!

Since Sona Mehring’s journey with CaringBridge began in 1997, our founder has come to believe that no one should be left wondering whether their life has mattered.

Driving home to the Twin Cities from Milwaukee after a recent visit with my son and daughter-in-law, I soaked up the pleasure of uninterrupted podcasts. One of my favorites was an interview with former Atlanta paramedic Kevin Hazzard about his book, “A Thousand Naked Strangers.” I lost track of the miles—and possibly the speedometer—hearing Kevin chronicle a decade of rescuing people from accident scenes, cardiac arrests, gunshot wounds and other medical emergencies.

Atlanta paramedic Kevin Hazzard learned about life from death

3 Things Every Person Wants to Know

The stories were as riveting as you would imagine, but it wasn’t the relentless adrenaline that captured my imagination. It was the way Kevin talked about patients whose hands he held as they died. He said he had come to note three commonalities:

  • Those who were dying often expressed regret about something they had done, or not done.
  • In their final moments, many patients hoped they would be remembered.
  • As life faded, patients wanted to believe their lives had value.

Share Why You Value Their Life

This was a lightning rod for me. While the health journeys of patients and caregivers using CaringBridge typically extend longer than an ambulance ride—with many positive outcomes—Kevin’s words jolted me. What is more powerful than describing to a loved one the value their life has brought to yours?

The Gift of Time

I like to think that when my Mom’s life ended, in my home, with hospice care in place, she had been able to resolve those three themes. Over the course of two cancer struggles, we had the gift of time to tell Mom what she meant to us, and to hear from her about things she may have done differently if there had been a second chance.

The Time to Say You Care is NOW!

If only the gift of time and second chances were always in reach. No one should ever have to talk above a wailing siren to thank someone for teaching them how to bake bread or ride a bike. Or for being their moral compass. Or for saying “no,” when “yes” would have been easier. But the only way to ensure you are not too late in telling someone the ways in which you will remember them is to do it now.

And When You Can’t Be There …

I am grateful to people like paramedic Kevin Hazzard, as well as nurses, doctors and aides everywhere, for holding the hands of our loved ones when we can’t be with them. But my preference is for those dear to me to know, well in advance, how their lives have mattered to me.

Leave No Doubt They Will be Remembered

Having had the opportunity to tell my Mom she was one of the bravest, most accomplished, and most loving people I know—and that I would always tell stories about her—may be the best gift I ever gave her, or me. I encourage you to do the same, so that no one you love is left wondering whether they will be remembered.

Start a CaringBridge Website

Are you or a loved one caring for someone on a health journey? If so, start a CaringBridge website, where you can share updates and receive encouragement and support from your family and friends.

Sona Mehring founded CaringBridge in 1997. She is also the author of the book “Hope Conquers All.”

  • Sharon Holcomb

    —and that I would always tell stories about her—
    These words resonated with me the most. Thank you for this essay and thank you for the immense service Caring Bridge has provided.

  • Joan arnold

    Not always easy to go back when you have disappointed by family and friends who did not take the journey with you. Part of it could be your fault as well. How to make these amends is not easy is it? Some times I wish I would have reacted differently or changed my expectation level but I was devistated at the time and still am.

  • Gloria Van Nostrand

    Thank you for adding another arrow to my quiver. May God richly bless you for starting this site.

  • Ann Howe-Tucker

    Thank you for this lesson. It has been difficult in the past for me to know how best to address the dying. It seems like common sense but having it pointed out gives great clarity and direction. I shall be at ease in the future as I take trips down memory lane with loved ones.

  • Rick Aldridge

    Well stated. I get it. I will value and remember this lesson learned.

  • Maureen Wells-Henderson

    I like to feel that I can make a difference to someone who needs help in their home. I donate 4 hours a week for someone whoneeds my help. The feeling I have when I leave is simply the most happy wonderful feeling that I have made a difference in their lives as well as my own.

  • Emily Dill

    Since I am also a care giver to my mother, I can’t tell you how this entry woke me up. I immediately asked God to give me a better attitude on those very difficult days. I hope every time I am feeling overwhelmed and defeated I will remember this. Thank you. Peace

  • Rod Hege

    probably nothing

  • Marlene Green

    This is an interesting piece. I am receiving it because I am connected to my dearest (and only) niece, Willa Zahava Silverman who is “a woman whose price is beyond rubies” as the Old Testament states.
    I think she knows what respect and admiration I have for her, for her being an excellent mother to Ben, an excellent teacher to her students, a good friend, and someone who is a role model for truly enjoying life.

  • ELG

    I’m the mother of a child who died suddenly in a car accident more than 11 years ago. You’ve struck a chord. Thank you for the reminder to speak from the heart NOW.

  • Diane

    Thank you for this important message. We all need to hear this.

  • Bob Bennett

    Thank you so much for sharing this…

  • Meredith Bohne

    Thank you so much for these meaningful paragraphs. Could u tell us some tips on how to comfort a dedicated wife/ caregiver pls that we don,t know very well, for Chris Davie,s spouse. And children. Many thanks, Meredith B.

  • Dori Bernsen

    Awhile back I donated $50 for a friend who was going through cancer treatment. I never heard from anyone that she wss aware of the donation. I would like to know where my money went.

  • Ruth Eisenmann

    Not many people know that Larry served 30 yrs. in the Army National Guard. He also worked very hard and received a B.A. From the University of Nebraska , his Masters from University of NE. And a second Masters from Concordia University in Seward , NE. He worked two jobs sometimes helping to support our family. This is something I thought you would like to know. ❤️✝️