I learned not to leave important things unsaid from a dear friend that passed from this life years ago. Doree and I started work at Las Vegas Valley Water District on the same day in March 1998. We became friends as we went through orientation together. She was a “displaced homemaker” re-entering the workforce as a graphic artist after a painful divorce; I was a bright-eyed, naive college graduate with big ideas. She became the talented artist to bring many of those ideas to fruition.
Doree blessed me with her humor, generosity, and wisdom, and we became close over the next few years. I can still picture her ready laugh and eclectic style. She confided in me that the pain and loneliness of being divorced, of being a broken family, was worse than being in a difficult marriage. Because of Doree, I tried harder in my marriage, recognized it as something precious to be preserved and nourished. She cherished her role as a traditional Jewish mother to three handsome young men, and longed for her family to be whole.
Doree often told me she loved me. But I felt funny saying it back. . . it didn’t seem like something you say to a friend. Eventually, Doree left work due to health struggles, but we talked often on the phone. One night when I called to check on her and she didn’t answer, the message I left included those words: “I love you, Doree.” I never talked to her again, and I don’t know if she heard my message, as she passed away that night.
Now I never hesitate to say, “I love you.”
Doree left a legacy of love and courage. What legacy will you leave?
Don’t leave important things unsaid.
Don’t leave your tale untold…