“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.” – Eden Ahbez, “Nature Boy”
Gotta give credit to 2021 and 2022; it’s been a fairly seamless handoff of bad news. Somehow we managed to close one year with the death of Betty White and open another with death of Sidney Poitier and Bob Saget. Plus, some of us also have individuals we knew personally who’ve passed away within this timeframe. However, amid the sadness, shock and frustration people are feeling, a few beautiful nuggets/themes have stood out — two of which go hand in hand. And it involves Betty and Bob.
First, about Betty White. Of course everyone talked about how impossibly cool, kind, funny and lovely she was — a true icon. But Paula Poundstone tweeted, “You know what’s really great? We told Betty White that we loved her while she was still here.” Collectively, a headline has emerged about how much we loved Betty and how proud we are to have expressed it fully to her while it still counted.
Second, about Bob Saget. His career, talent and humor seemed to be a footnote in the story of a human who was the embodiment of love. John Mayer observed that, “His love for those around him was always accounted for.” Reaction after reaction to Saget’s death seemed to marvel at his ability to express his love completely to everyone in his orbit.
On one hand, people fully expressed their love for a woman while she was still living. On the other, a man fully expressed his love for others while he was still living. When combined, I think this represents our ideal existence: love others, allow others to love you.
So, I’ve found myself asking some Bob self-reflection questions: Do your people know you love them? How do you know for sure? How frequently do you tell them — and how do you tell them? Is your love “accounted for”?
Some Betty self-reflection questions: Do you notice/recognize how your people show you they love you? What do they do or say beyond the words “I love you” to express it? Do you express your gratitude for it?
So if I’ve taken anything from the ickiness of the first less-than-two-weeks of the new year, it’s that I never want to leave my love unexpressed or another’s love unacknowledged.