Don’t wait: Life’s too short

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One fall, about 30 years ago, I met Mark’s cousin, Cathy Knopp, and her dad, John, at a football game. We watched the end of the game with them from the sidelines and decided to get a snack somewhere after the game and visit.

Easy to be with from the moment I met her, Cathy and I had a lot in common. During the course of our conversation, she got Mark’s attention and chided him with, “I like this one, Mark. Better keep her.”

I was thinking that I wouldn’t mind having this girl in my life, and her comment sealed my feelings for her. In Mark’s family (so big compared to mine), I’d met dozens of his wonderful cousins, but Cathy Sue was tops.

We rekindled the sparks between us at reunions maybe once a year. We always said we’d try to stay in better touch. Though she lived and taught high school English in Indiana, she came home to the family’s dairy farm for holiday times and usually at some point during most summers while she was off school, yet over the years we never got around to doing the things we said we were going to do 30 years ago.

Our family holiday gathering this past Christmas enabled our Kathie to get to know her dad’s cousin Cathy for the first time. Since my Kathie is a lot like me, I wasn’t surprised they hit it off. They both loved theater and the arts, and I was pleased they were so engrossed in talk since this party was supposed to have been one of those “family things that’s boring.” My daughter: “I won’t know anybody, and there won’t be anything to do.”

The two Cathys/Kathies agreed they’d get together the next time teacher Cathy took students on a trip to a special theater production during the summer. Though they were generations apart, I hoped my daughter could do the bonding I never seemed to have accomplished with my husband’s cousin.

Now, half a year later, it’s too late. In July, Cathy Sue died at the school where she’d taught for more than 30 years. None of the things we talked about will ever happen – not the friendship between us that could have grown over the years, not a bonding with my daughter that could have been even better than one with me, not even another summer trip with her students.

I’m in my 50s. People die every day who are in their 50s. Do I think it can’t happen to me? Am I so young at heart that I’m looking ahead and missing things that are right in front of me today?

Our best intentions didn’t happen for me and Mark’s cousin. I loved Cathy Sue; I’m sure she never knew just how much.

Don’t let good intentions slip away. If there’s someone you’ve meant to get to know, that you meant to talk to, or hug, or tell that you love them, do it today. Do it every day.

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