I Had All the Chances in the World, and I Still Never Said Goodbye

Zack Minott

Never leave a word unspoken.


Photo by Rasmus Smedstrup Mortensen on Unsplash

The doctors gave my family a four-month grace period. A timestamp pressed unto a life to which I held near and dear. Given a finite amount of time, you’d think I’d be more urgent. More adamant about capitalizing that time.

Truth is, I was scared. I was in denial. I froze at an opportunity I should have seized.

I had many chances to write a letter, a parting note of sorts, or even rehearse what I’d tell him. The sad reality was that I couldn’t even muster the nerve to deliver the words necessary to convey how much I loved and cared for him. The strongest man I knew was slowly withering away in front of my eyes. Still, I lacked the courage to say a thing.

I never got to deliver those final words to him. Never got to tell him how much I felt for him. Especially at a time where those words would have carried a weight strong enough to lift his internal spirit.

Now, he’s gone. All opportunity has dissipated, leaving me with none other but the company of regret. The only thing I truly regret not doing in my life. Not telling my dad how I felt before he moved into the great beyond as a victim of stage 4 throat cancer.

A Lesson Never to Be Forgotten

With regret and recognizable mistakes, though, comes a lesson. A valuable one at that. One I will cherish and embody for the remainder of my life.

Those words never said taught me that I should never leave a word unsaid. And a word unsaid can weigh on you more than you’ll ever know. Whereas a word that is said can carry the power and energy of a thousand suns — intimately lighting up someone’s visceral world in ways that you can’t imagine.

Please don’t make the same mistake I did. Such mistakes can catapult you into a state of deep despair where you become stuck in the purgatorial thinking pattern of ‘what if?’

What if I said what I felt? What if I conveyed my emotions fully and confidently? What if I made the most of those precious moments instead of escaping from them? What if . . .

It’s that debilitating type of self-talk that you should aim to avoid. It throws you into a depressive loop. Lost in a state of the wonder of what could be. A mind lost in the ghosts of its past. It grasps hold of you and garners control of your life, actions, and thoughts. You become bound by an imaginative reality that will never manifest itself simply because you held back. Your life becomes a slave to what you didn’t do. Remembering this quote by Anikta Singhal can serve to be a good mantra moving forward:

“I am master of my spoken words and slave to those which remain unspoken.”― Ankita Singhal

I’m sure many of you understand this feeling for it’s much too familiar to me. The feeling that follows withholding something you’ve had the deep desire to say or had to say but didn’t say at all. It’s not pleasant. Therefore you should do what exists within your power right now — in every moment — to mitigate the infection of such questions and feelings.

Easier said than done, right?

A Gift Stripped Away by Silence

It is much too easy to become encapsulated by silence, for silence is an easy escape. It’s simpler to not say anything at all than to flash your naked personality to someone you care for. As Jordan Peterson once said:

“When you have something to say, silence is a lie — and tyranny feeds on lies.”― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Ask yourself then, would you still allow yourself to choke on your words and procrastinate on what you could say if you knew with certainty that who you wanted to aim your words toward would die tomorrow?

It’s a difficult yet sobering thought experiment — enough to bring the walls down. You might choose your words more carefully and deliver them more thoughtfully, but it’d give you an excuse to pour your heart out nonetheless. For that urgency is what you need. Such urgency is met with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

The mistake I made was that I realized that urgency much too late. I lingered in denial of accepting the inevitable fate of my dad. I was so worried about what the future would hold for him that I forgot to be grateful for the lasting moments I had with him.

So what you should do is simply speak every word as if it’s your last — or their last chance to hear it. What would you want them to think of you as they fade into nothingness? Hopefully something pleasant.

Words are more powerful than we give them credit for. They are the expression of the self. They can serve to be an extravagant, yet simple, gift that we can share with others. A way for them to know and become affirmed by the open and honest thoughts that you have of them.

To quote the author, Yehuda Berg:

“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.”

To hold back what could be said, strips away any possibility of making an impact. It eliminates all possibility of speaking words that heal, help, and exude love. It steals away your chances of delivering your gift to their mind.

You may not realize it, but what you have to say may be of great importance to whoever is willing to listen. People tend to appreciate vulnerability. It fosters a deeper sense of connection that you wouldn’t be able to find otherwise.

That being so, you should never silence the voice of your own emotions out of selfish anguish for the silence I gave to my dad in his final moments proved to be peaked at the heights of selfishness and the greatest of injustices.

Never leave a word unspoken. You never know if that’s the last chance you’ll get to speak it.

Therefore if you love someone, tell them what they mean to you, for you could leave them heartbroken with words that are left unsaid — lost within the assumption of whatever is bottled up in your mind. Affirm them with the reality of your emotions tinged with vulnerability and you’ll find your relationships foster deeper, more meaningful connections.

If someone went out of their way to help you be it as little as pouring you a cup of coffee, holding the door open for you, or even helping get an out-of-reach item from the top of the grocery shelf, express your gratitude to them. An expression of gratitude can make someone’s day.

Maybe you have a crush you want to express your feelings for, a boss you want to discuss your ambitions with, or an inspiring person in your life that you want to ask to mentor you. If you do, simply express your desires. Starting that one conversation might just be enough to transform the entire trajectory of your life in a beautiful way.

Such reasons are enough to motivate you to never hold anything back that’s worth saying in the knolls of silence. Raise your voice. Speak up. Tell the world what you need to say.

“…it only takes one voice, at the right pitch, to start an avalanche.”― Dianna Hardy, Return of the Wolf

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Cloud Developer | Philosopher | Avid Reader | Intellectual Explorer and Lifelong Learner | Athlete | Top Writer @Medium

Santa Ana, CA

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