Something I think about every time I have a disagreement with someone is, "What if that is the last time I speak to that person?" That thought usually compels me to step forward and solve the issue. Or apologize. Though I think it's still important to work through the issue and not just rush to forgiveness. Still, I have an almost pathological desire not to leave this world on bad terms with anyone. Which isn't to say that I'm not on "off" terms with a few people. Hey, while I am alive, I've got to have my sanity.
That said, the idea of getting into a huge, screaming match with someone I love and then having that person die is abhorrent to me. So it's tragic to hear that this is apparently what happened to Gia Allemand's father. The Bachelor beauty, who died of suicide last week, was not on good terms with her father before she passed away -- according to her father. And he's feeling terrible about it.
Eugene Allemand was divorced from Gia's mom, and although he kept in touch with his daughter, it's apparent from the fact that mother Donna Micheletti left Eugene out of Gia's obituary that things weren't all roses in the family.
Eugene told the New York Daily News that he hadn't even been on speaking terms with Gia in the last months of her life -- and learned about her death from reporters. He said:
We had a fight on Mother’s Day and I said some things that I regret. I wish I could take them back, but it’s too late.
According to Eugene, he and Gia had argued over the fact that Gia neglected to send a Mother's Day card to his mother, Gia's grandmother. You can see how this is the kind of thing that, in the moment, seems so important. And when something tragic happens and that person is gone forever, it seems so unimportant. Eugene seems to realize this now, as he says:
If she were still here, I would I would tell her I’m so sorry and that I love her and that she will always be my rainbow.
But unfortunately those weren't his last words to his daughter. He says:
I said don’t bother calling me on Father’s Day. It was lots of nasty things said in the heat of the moment.
I hope Eugene can forgive himself for what happened. He obviously had zero idea that would be the last time he spoke to his daughter. But we should all be more cognizant that anything we say, do, even write (yes, even on the Internet) could be the last thing we ever send out into the world. Is a nasty word or Tweet the thing we want to be remembered for?
As for the people we love, it's okay to argue. It's human, it happens, and it's often necessary. But there are respectful ways to do it. Ways that don't descend into hate and bitterness. The next time you are tempted to tell someone where to go, think of how this might be the last thing you ever say.
I'll never forget how, years ago, my 7-year-old niece began making a fuss in a store. She wanted something bought for her, and she'd already had enough bought for her. I sharply said, "No!" and then watched as her face crumpled. The look sent a knife through my heart. So I said, "It's okay, baby. I'll buy you something later," and kissed her on the cheek. Months later, she died of cancer. I was always glad that I had not left our exchange on that original note.
Think about it.
Is there someone you want to make up with today?
Image via GiaAllemand/Instagram