Days before I flew to Dallas to speak at the Close To My Heart convention on July 13th, I decided I would need a cowboy hat and cowboy boots to help me tell an authentic Texas story. I called my Aunt Shirley. In fact, anytime I’m headed to Texas, I call Aunt Shirley. Shirley has accompanied me to CKU events in San Antonio, Houston and Austin; She starred in at least one Simple Scrapbooks video, filmed at the Primedia studios in Dallas. If I need anything arranged, organized, decorated, communicated or coordinated, I call Shirley—in fact, the last time I spoke at the CTMH convention in Texas (2004) I realized that in order to convey an effective comparison between scrapbooking and sky diving, I would need to actually jump out of an airplane. I called Aunt Shirley. I said something like, “I land in Dallas this Thursday at 2:30pm and I’m speaking Friday morning at 9:00am and somewhere in there … I need to go skydiving.” She answered, “I’m on it.”
Last Thursday evening I got the call that Aunt Shirley had unexpectedly passed away. She was only 62 years old. She had gone to dinner with some friends on Tuesday night and then at some point in the middle of the night experienced an aneurism in her brain. Her neighbor, wondering why she hadn’t seen her walked next door to check in and found her on the bedroom floor.
And that’s it.
I won’t see Aunt Shirley again in this life.
I’m very happy that she passed quickly and without suffering, but I’m regretting the email I didn’t reply to and the phone calls I didn’t pick up—it’s been a very busy summer after all.
And so I’m back in Dallas. This time for a funeral—I’m sure many of you have experienced the sudden, untimely loss of a loved one, and if you haven’t you know someone who has. Please do me a favor and decide right now that people matter to you, especially people in your immediate and extended families. Please don’t get so busy that you think the next task is more important than taking a few minutes to connect with someone you love. I loved my Aunt Shirley and she knew that, but had I known when we posed for this photo …
I pray that we will remember in all of our photo-taking and page-making that our pictures and stories become instantaneously more priceless when life takes that dreaded and unexpected turn. Tell the stories of the people you love.
p.s. I have not forgotten about the FREE seat in Becky’s upcoming 4Experts class. I will post the winner as soon as I return home. Thanks for your patience!