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What Do You Need To Say Before It’s Too Late?


There has been a bit of internet buzz lately surrounding a blog called, “The Things You Would Have Said.” It’s a very simple blog with short postings from people who missed out on a chance to say something to someone. Each blog post is written like a letter to that person, finally saying the thing that went unsaid. Some are serious, some are funny, and many are a bit sad.

The posts come from people of all walks of life, and the letters are written to people with a variety of roles in that person’s life. There’s one from a 13-year-old girl who wished she would have told her grandma more often that she loved her. There’s another that a woman wrote to her deceased sister, apologizing for not being there for her when she had pain after surgery and then unexpectedly passed away. There’s even one from a 78-year-old man to his mother, in which he simply tells her finally how important she was to him.

This isn’t about an altercation with someone where you later think of a good comeback and think, “That’s what I should have said!” And it isn’t about getting the last word in to someone who broke your heart. But it’s really just people who missed out on telling someone something important, and now they never can.

What I would have said

Of all the big and small dreams on my bucket list, one thing I have had on there for years is to find my second grade teacher and thank her. Miss Foley was one of those teachers who loved teaching, put tons of energy into it, and always made everyone feel special. For me, though, I remember her giving me attention on days I needed it and boosting my self-esteem when she recognized my accomplishments. I don’t have any idea how to find her now, but there are definitely some things I would like to say – starting with “Thank You.”

I had another really great teacher in college – a health promotion/wellness professor I had for a couple of classes. I still have one of the projects I completed for her class (printed on a dot matrix!), and I look at it from time to time, because her comments were so generous, encouraging, and positive. Whenever I review it, I always wonder if she knows how great a professor she is and how much I valued her. A couple of months ago, I actually tracked her down and took the time to tell her what I thought. She answered some questions I had, and then – no surprise – she gave me feedback on this blog! She hasn’t changed a bit. 🙂

What would you have said?

Think back over the course of your life and the people who have impacted you. When you were a kid, were there things you would have said if you had known you would lose touch with people? I read a post on “The Things You Would Have Said” from an adult man to his grade school friend. He was finally apologizing for repeatedly knocking his friend’s sombrero off his head during a school performance of Mexican dance! He was carrying that regret for “acting like a jerkface” all his life, and still wanted to make it up to his old friend.

Now as an adult, are there people you have lost through due to death, distance, or maybe a disagreement that you wish you would have told them one more thing? Maybe like this man who never got around to telling his now deceased cousin that all he ever wanted was to be like him?

What can you say now?

You knew where this was going, right? My next question is – what do you need to say now before you run the risk of it being unsaid? You never know when a person who impacts you so much today could be lost forever. Do you need to tell your dad how much you look up to him and really appreciate him teaching you so much? Do you need to tell your son how proud you are of his accomplishments or how much you value his opinion? Maybe you need to tell your best friend how much she means to you or how lost you’d be without her.

Take a look at “The Things You Would Have Said.” The letters are heartfelt, and you can feel their pain, but they also just might make you think about what you need to say now, before it’s too late. There’s also a book, which is like a “best of” the blog, called The Things You Would Have Said: The Chance to Say What You Always Wanted Them to Know. I haven’t picked it up yet, but you can see from the reviews on amazon how much readers are affected by the letters they read. I imagine they were spurred to say a few things to their friends and family too.

Have you thought of a few people you need to talk to right away? I’d love to hear from you in the comments – let me know how it goes when you tell them!

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Bucket Lists: How To Create The Guide To Your Own Life