When sending flowers just won’t do

Flowers.

Don’t send them.

My former colleague, Tim, lost his beloved Uncle Bill this week. People sent flowers. That’s what they do at times like these.

Tim says don’t do it. Not because he didn’t adore his uncle. Oh, how he adored him. Still does.

“He’s the man who influenced me to become a journalist,” he says, marking his own life journey with clarity.

Tim grew up watching his mother’s older brother run a newspaper, write a column.

“The way he told stories,” Tim reminisced. “The way he was with people. A stranger was just a friend Uncle Bill hadn’t met yet.”

This was a man who had a wife, six kids, 10 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren.

“Even with all that, when he talked to you, he made you feel like you were the only person in the world that mattered.”

That attention.

That little bit of time, that focus. They all told Tim he mattered. Inspired his career choice. Helped shape the man he wants to be.

So you see, flowers aren’t going to cut it.

Have you been there, Dear Reader? Felt so strongly about someone that you knew flowers just wouldn’t do?

It has to be something else to honor their memory. Something that lives on longer than cut flowers.

Tim has found his. For Uncle Bill. Tim wants you to send yourself. To someone special, someone special to you.

“If there is a person in your life who has supported you, encouraged you or been there for you who you haven’t spoken to in a while, I’m encouraging you to reach out,” Tim says.

Call.

Text.

Send an email.

Write an old-fashioned letter.

Just let them know. They mattered.

“Why that?” I asked.

“We were good,” Tim saying this wasn’t about a missed opportunity. “He was 89 years old and in declining health, but I feel like the time we got was enough for him to know how I felt. This is about celebrating his dedication to people,” Tim says.

“So, who’s next?” I asked.

“My brothers,” Tim replied without hesitation. “I’ll see them at Bill’s memorial service in a few days. And three weeks from now, my two brothers, my parents and I are having a weekend, just us. No spouses or kids. We get to show up just as ourselves. That’s going to be my chance.”

It probably won’t be long or drawn-out. They are guys, after all.

But they’ll know.

How much they matter to Tim.

Talk about one fine newspaper man.

One fine uncle.

Even though Uncle Bill has passed, he’s still helping Tim write new stories.

And if Tim’s hope is realized, helping you, too.

To pause.

To reach out.

“So who’s it going to be?” Tim messaged me a few hours later. “Who’s your person?”

One face immediately came to mind.

“Can’t be him,” said a voice in my head.

“Has to be him,” another voice countered.

And so it will be.

I’ll share next week.

I think he’s going to be shocked.

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