Death is not something we like to think about, and we like even less to deal with it. Every day we hear reports on the news that someone who is a stranger or only a familiar name to us has died. But sooner or later each and every one of us is touched by the death of someone very special to us, whether it be a family member, close friend or beloved pet.

And as soon as we lose that loved one, the regrets set in and the “I wish I would haves” start. I wish I would have spent more time with . . . . I wish I had called more often. I wish, I wish, I wish . . . . But all those wishes that we make are too late.

Granted, there is always a little more we could do for those we love, and maybe even those we don’t care for so much. But when we do the best that we can, skipping all the excuses of why we couldn’t, then when that loved one is taken from us by death, we won’t have any regrets. We will know that we have done the best we could to make their life happy.

From the times I have been to visitations and funerals, I have learned that the biggest regrets often come when it is a grandparent who has passed. My only regret in thinking about my own grandparents is that I didn’t spend more time learning all the things they could have taught me – family history, the languages from “the old country,” how to start a slip from a flower plant. Looking back, I know my grandparents had a wealth of knowledge to share, but I was too young to want to learn what they had to teach.

This weekend many people will have an opportunity to eliminate some of the “I wish” moments that are sure to come their way. This Sunday, September 8, is Grandparents Day.

The United States is not the only country to celebrate Grandparents Day, but our celebration of Grandparents Day officially began in 1973, when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day to be National Grandparents Day.

Its founder, Marian McQuade of West Virginia, wanted grandparents to be honored, to have a chance to show their love for their grandchildren, and for the grandchildren, in turn, to become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.

If you go to the stores, you won’t find a big variety of Grandparents Day cards, such as you might find for other holidays. But there are a few for those who want to remember their grandparents in that way. Along with the card, a thoughtful little gift can really brighten Grandma’s or Grandpa’s day.

Phone calls are even better, because one comment can lead to another, and before you know it, both feel better and blessed.

A visit, just spending time with grandparents, is the best, because as old memories are shared, new memories are being made. An hour or two isn’t much to ask, and it’s really not hard to find an hour or two in our schedule with a little pre-planning, when it is really something we want to do. Actually we don’t find the time to do the things we want to do, we make the time, if it is really important to us.

Grandparents aren’t around forever; all of my grandparents died unexpectedly and there wasn’t time to send any more cards or make any more phone calls. I wish they were still with us (although they would all be well over 120 years old!) so I could ask one more question, learn one more tidbit about our family history.

Are there still grandparents in your family? This Sunday is the perfect opportunity to let them know you care, so that someday you won’t find yourself saying, “I wish . . . .”

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Thought for the week — Grandparents are someone with silver in their hair and gold in their hearts.

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