|My dear father-in-law, Larry Denman|
"Thank you" doesn't have an expiration date.
In June of 2012, my father-in-law was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was immediately put in Hospice care. They gave him 4-6 months to live.
While it was a shock to the rest of us, my father-in-law took it really, really well. He decided to keep living as long as he he had breath.
He wanted to have their longstanding Christmas party in December, 2012. So, even though he was slowing down, they still had the party. All of their friends gathered for the last time, enjoying the night. I took pictures of everyone with 'Ole Larry.
He had some ups and downs, but in January of 2013, Hospice had to send a doctor in to re-evaluate him since he had lived 6 months. They rarely missed a diagnosis. The doctor came and declared he still needed Hospice services.
(He then lived another 4 months. I jokingly said he made it well past his original expiration date.)
That January, I went to help care for my father-in-law during a downturn. It was precious time with him.
Here's some of what I learned.
A Hospice nurse said he was the happiest dying man she had ever met. Caring for the dying is what she does. Yet, he stood out to her.
Well, what I noticed while caring for him is that he was grateful and appreciative.
Every time we sat down at the table, he recounted the blessings in his life. The trips they got to take to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Israel, Germany. He appreciated the view of "his" mountains. He thanked me for being there. For being patient with him.
Then, he asked me to let him dictate thank you notes to me, let him review them and then sign them.
That's when I learned that a "thank you" doesn't expire.
For one of the notes, he thanked a friend for helping them move from Florida to North Carolina 36 years ago. Yes, 36 years ago! He remembered about his friend driving the truck with all their furnishings.
I can't even imagine getting a thank you note for something I did 10, 20, 30 years ago! But he remembered and appreciated what his friend did. 36 years ago.
I was humbled by my father-in-law's gratefulness. For him remembering a long gone memory, and saying, "Thank you. I appreciated you driving that big truck for a couple of days to help my family move."
How sad that I forget to say thank you to those around me very often.
Starting today, I want to go out of my way to say thank you to at least one person every single day.
I want to start going back in time, thanking people for what they did years ago.
|Mom and Dad at the beach, by Mary Denman Photography|
Daddy, thank your being the best dad I could have asked for. Thanks for the barrel candy you'd bring home after work. For playing great music in the house. For taking us to concerts. For letting me keep Tabitha. For bringing me flowers on my 16th birthday. For always loving Mom. For always loving us.
I love you, Daddy.
Don't let your thank you's expire. Tell your friends thank you. Tell a cashier thank you. Join me in sharing thanks each and every day.
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thess. 5:18
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