The late great Lewis Grizzard once wrote a book entitled, “Don’t Forget To Call Your Mama, I Wish I Could Call Mine.” The book is a tribute to his mother and touches on her long battle with scleroderma, but the title says a lot in itself. Too often we think about calling someone important to us, but we cast those thoughts aside and carry on with the business of the day. Sound familiar?
About fourteen years ago I called home after a trip to Washington D.C. with my wife. I spoke to my father that morning and we talked about my trip. He told me that he would like to go to Washington someday. He was preparing to go on a motorcycle ride later that day. I told him that I loved him and I went to work. Later that day I got a call from my sister-in-law. She was given the duty to call and tell me that my father had passed away that day while he was getting ready for that motorcycle ride. He had a brain aneurysm. There was no medical history in our family that suggested this would be a threat. It was unexpected for everybody, especially given that he was only 48. I am glad that I did not suppress my urge to call home that day.
Sometimes we get more of a warning before someone is about to pass. My grandfather was admitted to a nursing home. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Some days were good, but many were bad as his memory faded so much that he didn’t recognize me. He was such an important figure in my life, truly a pillar of the family. When I think of these two men and the way they passed, I don’t think that one situation was preferable over the other.
As I type these words, my wife is driving out to Texas with her parents to visit her sister. Her sister had a major battle with cancer last year. She thought she was in the clear, and she had a party celebrating a milestone being free from cancer. After a recent check-up, the doctors determined that the cancer is back, and she is scheduled to have major surgery to fight it.
I hope that the scheduled surgery comes off without a hitch, but I know from experience that we are not promised tomorrow. That may be the greatest lesson that I learned from my father’s unexpected death. Unfortunately, dying is a part of living.
It is through our families that we first experience love. Few things on earth are as important as our families. Never miss an opportunity to tell the ones around you that you love them. You just never know. Oh, and don’t forget to call your mama!
Written by Bill Waller. Mr. Waller is a author and contributor local blog, Southwest Georgia Politics. He enjoys writing, traveling, and researching history. He currently resides in Albany, Georgia.