Nonnou (my dad's father) died a few weeks after my 20th birthday. On my birthday, we never got a chance to speak as we had done for many years. As I mourned his loss, I was devastated that I never had a chance to say goodbye. I'm sure he knew I loved, respected and looked up to him, but I wish I could have told him this myself one last time. It's something I will always regret - I missed my last opportunity to say goodbye, to acknowledge the role he played in my life.
"I suppose in the end, the whole of life
becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not
taking a moment to say goodbye."
The above quote stood out to me as my wife and I watched Life of Pi a few days ago. It bought back my regret of not telling Nonnou how much I appreciated him one last time. I decided it was something I wanted to ensure didn't happen again. Gramps' (my mom's father) health has been on the decline the last few years, and though we've been corresponding regularly the last few years, I felt that it was important for me to tell him what what I wished I had told Nonnou when I had the chance (I had the opportunity to say goodbye before Granny died when I was 16). As we talked last night, I told him how much I loved and respected him, and how I hoped I could be a good human being like he's been. He thanked me, and as the conversation winded down he told me, "I love you Avram very much, thank you again." Earlier this morning, I had a similar conversation with Nonna. Like Gramps, she was touched by what I said and thanked me.
Trying your best to ensure mistakes you've made in the past are not repeated is part of what life is all about - part of our journey to better ourselves. I guess the Pirki Avot (4:1) adage of "Who is smart? He who learns from others" doesn't only refer to people you interact with throughout your lives, but also movie (or book) characters!