Missed Opportunity

You would think, being with someone for 14 years, that family introductions were a done-deal. That, through the course of those 14 years, you’d have met every auntie, uncle, brother, cousin, etc. (or just about everyone, anyway). Well, surprise. I met Anthony’s uncle for the first time during the holidays last year, which was pretty magical. My first and last encounter with our beloved Uncle Mike.

It was the first time he had been back to Alaska in years. How long? I can’t say… but this reunion contained a heightened level of electricity and excitement for the Panichellos. All the siblings together again, under one roof. Gaylene, Frank, and Michael.

“Don’t forget to take a picture.”

That’s all I kept thinking, but as the day progressed, I just sat and observed. It was wonderful to hear everyone rehash old stories, and to see Anthony interact with one of his favorites from his childhood. It was sweet.

So, I left it alone, and decided to live in the moment and not worry about pictures. I mean, later, right? I would take some later.

I forgot.

Me? Forget?

I know, that never happens. NEVER.

But it did, and sadly, later never came.

So, here we are. October 5, 2017, and we received the awful news that he left his body here on earth, to live out his days in the eternal after life.

I only met him once. ONE TIME, but that one time was all it took for him to have such a profound impact on my life. He was such a gem. A beautiful soul taken from us too soon.

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Moments and experiences are all we truly have, so cherish them. Make actual phone calls; not only text. Meet for coffee. Meet for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Check in on your loved ones from time-to-time. Tell them “I LOVE YOU.” Be present. Make time. It’s always easy to speak on what we should have done, in hind-sight. I know from now on, I will always –

Take. The. Damn. Picture.

Rest in love.

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