I recently wore a Nike “Just Do It” T-shirt. When my seven-year-old daughter took time to read what the shirt said, she asked, “Just do what?”
“Good question,” I responded.
It was a good question on many levels because we shouldn’t be “just doing” anything and everything. What we’re “just doing” should have at least some purpose. However, the words “just do it” have a special meaning for me now.
Most of you who know me know that I lost my husband in January. Although he had been dealing with a chronic condition for more than 10 years, he had surgery right before Christmas that had pretty much fixed it, so his death was a shock to me and my family. In fact, we were in Dallas for a simple checkup in a doctor’s office when it happened. He had a blood clot that came loose and caused a pulmonary embolism before the doctor even started the appointment. Tim was gone in minutes.
After days passed, as most people (I would assume), I began to think of the what-ifs and the should-haves. I even began hearing from some of his close friends and members of our family who had planned on visiting him or calling him as he was recovering from surgery, but just didn’t get around to it.
I remember just days before his death having this strong urge to tell him how much I loved him. I remember wondering why the urge was so strong. I had been caring for him after his recovery, and it was been exhausting, along with taking care of our kids, working and everything else. I know I didn’t always take care of him with lots of joy.
I did tell him I loved him at least a few times before he died, but not to the extent that I felt I needed to, telling him how much he meant to me, how important he was to me. I do regret that.
But there was one simple act that I did for him the night before he died that I almost didn’t do, and I am so glad I did because Tim’s love language was action. He showed his love to me by doing things for me, and actions meant much more than words to Tim.
The night before his death, I was planning to pick up supper on the way home. I texted him asking what he wanted to eat, and he said he didn’t care. By the time I picked the place I was going to get food from, he texted me again, asking me to get him a fruit punch.
This was a big deal because his appetite had not been there and he hadn’t had a craving for much of anything, so when I went to pick up the food, I asked for fruit punch. Well, they didn’t have any.
So I left to make my way home. I knew I could probably get him a fruit punch somewhere else, but I was exhausted, and I just wanted to get home to my family and rest before driving to Dallas the next day. I figured he could do without a fruit punch. But before I could get home, I thought to myself, “just do it.” So I decided to stop at a convenience store in Roscoe and get him one because I knew he would like it.
That was his last request of me because he died the following afternoon.
I am so thankful that I heeded the urge to fulfill that simple request. For some reason, it gave me a little extra peace after his death knowing he knew I cared enough about him to get him the one thing he wanted to drink that night.
And from now on, when I get a strong feeling to do something or say something nice to someone or important for someone, then I’m just going to do it. You never know how long you have with that person, or what it will mean to that person.
Kimberly Gray is a resident of Nolan County. Comments about this column may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org .