I received this e-mail from Denny Zarnt of Chapel Hill, North Carolina:
"A number of years ago as I was walking out the door on just another business airplane trip, I said to my 15-year-old daughter, "Ah, come on and give your old dad a hug. You never know with these airplanes, I might not see you again." She relented and gave me a big hug... that was the last time I saw her. One week later she died in an airplane crash. I thank God every day that she chose to give me that hug."
Denny Zarnt lost his little girl along with 135 others when Delta Flight 191 (search) slammed into the ground in Dallas on August 2, 1985. And he's right: We spend an enormous amount of time lamenting the moment, forgetting the fact that the moment passes. Sometimes before you know it and way before you ever appreciate it.
How many of us would love to be with loved ones long gone for just one more meeting? One more cup of coffee? One more trip to the ballgame? One more soccer practice? One more anything?
And how many 9/11 families are going through those one more moments all over again? Remembering cell phone conversations if they were so lucky that day, or hasty goodbyes that morning, if they were not?
How many of them would reflect on the twists of life and the freak flukes of life: The people who got out of those burning towers and their loved ones who did not.
They say time heals all wounds. I suspect it makes more just fester.
Replaying the “what ifs:” What if Charlie had not gone to work that day? What if the friendly stewardess had not so cheerfully switched flights for a pal that day?
It doesn't do much to replay the past, but it should give some of us a little focus on the present and the loved ones we know, still with us today. There are no guarantees they'll be with us — or we with them — tomorrow.
So go ahead and hug. Because, for the life of me, I've never heard anyone mourning the passing of a loved one, say, "If only we didn't hug so much."
Not once. Not ever.
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