Say What You Need To Say

Last year at this time, I was in the Chicago area for implementation training and brainstorming for a new company initiative. I haven’t been out to our home office for a few years and to be honest I wasn’t crazy about leaving my wife and kids for the better part of a week.

The time at the Chicago area office went very well, but the highlight of the trip was my visit with my Grandma Stolpe. Grandma will turn 93 in early April. The last few years, her health hasn’t been great. Many in my family wondered if she would make it past the Christmas holidays.

It had been a few years since we last visited in person, so it was real special when I walked through the doors of the nursing home where she lives and I saw her waiting for me to arrive. We ate dinner together in their cafeteria, and we visited for a while back in her room. Though it had been three and a half years since our last face-to-face visit, it seemed like we just saw each other last week.

My Aunt Elaine and Uncle Max stopped by for the last hour of our visit. We talked more and shared details about our families. We also talked about memories and family traditions.

A few times, Grandma mentioned that she was ready for heaven whenever God decided it was time. She expressed hope that it wouldn’t be much longer. It was clear that she was content with the life she had lived and hopeful for the future in heaven.

I will remember a few details about this visit: Grandma’s Bible on her nightstand, her family tree of pictures on the wall above her bed, her thoughts on the economy and politics, and her joy in spending time with me (her oldest grandson).

I don’t know when or if I will see Grandma again on this side of eternity. As we said our goodbyes (which took a while), I hugged Grandma, and I told her I loved her. She reciprocated as only a small 91-year-old women could with a broken arm. She said, “I love you too, Jon. Thank you so much for the visit.”

As I walked to my car, I sniffled a bit. I’m not sure I’ll have that chance again. The visit was great – and the goodbye was perfect whether it was the last or not.

Driving back to my hotel that night, I heard the song “Say What You Need to Say” by John Mayer. The song talks about saying what needs to be said – not regretting holding back – making sure things are right with our loved ones and that we express our love, appreciation, and respect for each other.

I said what I needed to say.

Is everything good between you and your family and friends or is there something you need to say?  What do you need to say?  To whom do you need to say it?