Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum on · 31 comments

Tree and Gravestones (BW version)
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jim Frazier

“The bitterest tear shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Liara Covert October 12, 2008 at 5:14 am

You can evolve to believe that you have done everything you were meant to do in your last lifetime, and that you exist now with more than one purpose again. When spirit leave the physical world, some desire to return while others are happy that phase of their soul journey is over.


MizFit October 12, 2008 at 6:18 am

lately Ive been grabbing my husband and saying I APPRECIATE YOU.

(to which he always replies:I know!)

but when I feel it I say it—for that reason above.

MizFits last blog post..Talk about amazing & inspiring women…


BC Doan October 12, 2008 at 7:01 am

Beautiful quote!

BC Doans last blog post..Reach for Life Balance


Julie October 12, 2008 at 7:54 am

Reminds us to , as MizFits said, take every opportunity to say the things we ought—instead of just thinking them. Thanks, Lance!

Julies last blog post.."Home"


Ask The Dietitian October 12, 2008 at 8:54 am

This post reminds me of my brother – words left unsaid and deeds left undone. I miss him terribly.


Amanda Linehan October 12, 2008 at 9:11 am

I think it’s generally the things we don’t do, rather than the things we do that cause us the most pain.

You pick out some great quotes, Lance!

Amanda Linehans last blog post..The Joy of Walking


Writer Dad October 12, 2008 at 9:20 am

Somber Sunday. It’s good to think. Thanks, Lance.

Writer Dads last blog post..Namasté


Dave Fowler October 12, 2008 at 11:26 am

I’ve decided not to let that happen. It’s not that I’m going all-out to say everything that I want to say. I’m just not going to beat the crap out of myself if I don’t get to say it.

I’m not fully convinced that saying everything you want to say is always the best option anyway. Some things should never be said.

Don’t know. I could be wrong.

As always though Lance… food for thought. Thank you. Dave.

Dave Fowlers last blog post..The Best Halloween Themed Site


Cath Lawson October 12, 2008 at 11:35 am

Hi Lance – well that’s a quote to make us think. The picture of that graveyard is way spooky by the way.


Marelisa October 12, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Hi Lance: An important exercise in gratitude is to thank all of the people who have helped you become who you are. It’s important to get around to doing this while the people are still alive to hear us say it, instead of postponing it until it’s too late. Your Sunday quote is very sad but very important at the same time.

Marelisas last blog post..Five Amazing Stress-Busting Methods on YouTube


rebecca October 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm

how very true…

rebeccas last blog post..A $400K Junket


Laurie October 12, 2008 at 3:28 pm

When my mom was dying with cancer, I felt I had so much to say to her. A life time of appreciation and love. I wrote her a letter that was maybe 10 pages long. I talked to her about different times in my life where she had made a difference not even knowing it. Little things that meant so much. I talked to her about what I had learned from her and how she was so important to me. I told her how much I loved her. Before I sent the letter, it was really bothering me that I needed to say these things but had not. After I sent it I got so much peace from it. I felt that she died with nothing left unsaid from my side.

She died a miserable death. She suffered which broke my heart. But as she lay in her bed, out of it for a couple of days, she opened her eyes for the last time, looked past my sister standing beside her bed, looked at something or someone who wasn’t visible to me and said, “Jesus is good.” Then she closed her eyes, exhaled her last time and died.


Jean Browman--Transforming Stress October 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm

My post at Transforming Stress today starts with a picture of a graveyard. One of the grave markers looks remarkably the same…what a coincidence.

I saw Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town when I was 12 years old. It taught me that life is fragile, don’t take relationships for granted. I’m forever grateful for that lesson.

Jean Browman–Transforming Stresss last blog post..What I Learned From Losing Loved Ones


Kelly@SHE-POWER October 12, 2008 at 4:11 pm

I learned this at quite an early age when my stepbrother died. He was only 16 and I was tormented for ages by the thought that he may not have known how much he meant to me due to the nature of our antagonistic teenage relationship. His death really made me see life differently and I made a decision that I would throw my love around, be more open and affectionate, appreciate everyone in my life and live life as fearlessly as possible.

I definitely still hold myself back at times and sometimes emotionally withdraw when I am tired and overwhelmed, but mostly this promise has stuck and I don’t have to worry about dying with things undone and unsaid. if I went tomorrow, I’d have no regrets other than the usual wanting more.

Thanks for making me remember this Lance. I made this pledge almost 17 years ago now, but I don’t ever want to forget it.



Davina October 12, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Hi Lance. This quote says it all very well. I can attest to that everytime I have visited my mother’s and grandmother’s graves. But I have no regrets about what has been left unsaid. I “know” or believe that they understand what was left unsaid on some level.

Davinas last blog post..Thanks, It Means The World To Me


love-ely October 12, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Nice quote

love-elys last blog post..Open Letter To All The President


Stacey / Create a Balance October 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm

I never heard this quote before, but I hear you loud and clear! I hope I don’t need to visit a new grave any time soon.

Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..How To Embrace a Money Recess


Maya October 12, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Living half way across the world from most of my family and my aging parents, a version of this thought occurs to me everytime I bid them goodbye. And honestly, just thinking that perhaps this could be the last time I am seeing someone makes me celebrate even the most mundane of moments. Over the years, I have tried to treat every person and every experience in my life like it….

Yes, the quote is nothing to be happy about, but flip it around and think of it as “treating every moment with our loved ones as if it could be the last” makes it sound a little better, doesn’t it? And it makes life a lot brighter 🙂

Mayas last blog post..The key to happiness and balance is right with you, just learn to use it – Part 2 of the thinkmaya framework


Jamie Simmerman October 12, 2008 at 7:44 pm

You know Lance, you seem to have this uncanny ability to tap into my next day’s post before it goes live…. are you hacking my server? 😀


Lance October 12, 2008 at 9:14 pm

@Liara – Doing everything we were meant to do – although we can question at times if we’ve done that – the best we can do is try the best we know how.

@MizFit – That’s a great reason to say it!

@BC Doan – Thanks!

@Julie – Saying instead of just thinking — thanks for sharing that Julie — that’s all it takes many times — just saying what we are already thinking…

@Ask The Dietitian – I’m sorry for the loss of your brother. Losing someone close really makes this hit home, I’m sure. Your sharing that here with others is really a way to let others know just how important “unsaid” things can be. Thank you.

@Amanda – Yes, what we don’t do – is what we usually regret the most.

@Writer Dad – Your welcome.

@Dave – Well, Dave – that’s an interesting look at this – and one that does make sense, after a deeper look. Some things, some thoughts, shouldn’t be said – those which might be hurtful, mean, or done in revenge. I guess the other take away is that if we have something we think we should say, that if we think about if it’s something we would like that person to know, then it is best if it’s said. But much to think about on this now, where that line is, what should be said and what shouldn’t…

@Cath – It is a quote that makes us think. And the picture being spooky, or “dark” – I thought went well with the idea of death and the finality we associate with it. And with finality, the importance of saying the things we want to say…

@Marelisa – You are correct, this is a sad quote today. And in the sadness, I hope we can realize what you have stated so well – the importance of being grateful and sharing that with those we are grateful for. While we still can…

@Rebecca – Yes, very true…

@Laurie – I’m glad you had the opportunity to say the things you needed to your Mom while you still could. I’m sure it brought comfort to both you and her. You have a very strong faith Laurie, thanks for sharing your story here. Through your words, we can all learn a bit more about why this is so important…

@Jean – The pictures really are eerily similar. Getting to the point where we don’t take relationships for granted – such a great point Jean. That is what leads to these things that get left unsaid or deeds undone – because we’ve taken some relationship for granted. Thanks for the reminder that it’s about the relationships…

@Kelly – Thanks so much for sharing your own personal story here on why this is so important. Through real-life examples, we all gain a better understanding of what this truly means. Your sharing helps me, and others, to better grasp what this really means – how important this really is. Again, thank you for sharing your personal journey here today.

@Davina – This really gets down to what we each, individually believe, whether those that have went before us – if they look down on us from above, if they are angels in the sky, if they are brought back in some other form, if they can hear our words after death – but no matter what we each believe, we can always still say the things in our minds and hearts, even after death. It may not be the same as when the person is still with us, but we can find some comfort in sharing even after death. That is a good point to remember, especially as we grieve, that still saying what we need to say can be a freeing experience for us still…

@Love-ely – Thank you.

@Stacey/CreateaBalance – It rings loud and clear for me too, especially upon reading the comments from others here. It’s in real experiences being shared that bring this quote to life. And, while we all hope to not have a new grave to visit anytime soon – we also know that life can change at any moment – there are no guarantees of what the futures holds for any of us. And when I think like that, it makes life seem more precious, and relationships more important…

@Maya – It can be the simple things in life, the moments just spent together, that make all the difference. Treating others like that, Maya, is a powerful example of not leaving anything undone. Rewording of the quote does give it a more “positive” spin – and does make for a brighter picture…a bit different from the version above…

@Jamie – You figured me out!! Secretly I’m a blog hacker (I wonder where that’ll take me???). So, now I’m curious — what will you have tomorrow?? (because as much as I dream of being a hacker, I’m just not there yet….)


Evelyn Lim October 12, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Wow…what a profound quote. Yup…hope to say what I have to say and do what I have to do before the time rounds out for me!

Evelyn Lims last blog post..Can The Artist See The Big Picture?


Linda Abbit October 13, 2008 at 12:23 am

Your quote is so serious and so true, Lance. I’d never heard it before.

I try to tell my loved ones each day how much I appreciate and love them. We never know what tomorrow will bring.

I think we’ve been looking at this quote from the survivors’ perspective of having missed opportunities with the dead. How about when a young child dies, and the bitter tears are for THEIR unsaid words and unfinished lives. Too sad to contemplate.

I think your spooky photo is getting us in the Halloween spirit, eh?

Linda Abbits last blog post..Listen to Me Speak — Lessons From a Family Caregiver


Glee Girl October 13, 2008 at 1:12 am

Great quote – an excellent reminder of how petty a lot of stuff in life really is – cross words and grudges and so on.


sharon October 13, 2008 at 3:03 am

Lance, that went to the core of my heart. I dare make the most of each day! Say what I want say, do what I want to, face my challenges, take on risks and pursue my dreams with a ‘can do’attitude. Lance, you have awoke something in me. That gloomy picture is hard hitting!

sharons last blog post..Ask and It Is Given-Segment Intending


Brionne October 13, 2008 at 5:16 am

so true…those words certainly make you think


Stacey Shipman October 13, 2008 at 6:50 am

This reminds me of when my grandparents passed nearly 2 decades ago. They were too young in my opinion and I never got to say a proper good-bye because neither death was expected. That left me with a lot of pain at 18 years old. We’re so afraid to speak words sometimes and so afraid to act, but the pain of not doing either is so much greater!

Stacey Shipmans last blog post..Success Comes from The Heart


Lance October 13, 2008 at 7:18 am

@Evelyn – Me too. And sometimes I wonder if I am…

@Linda – Very sad, what you bring up Linda – the words and deeds unsaid by young people who die too early. What they could have said, what they could have done… Thank you for giving this quote a different perspective. And still, it reminds me, maybe even more, of the importance of saying and doing what we desire – because we never know how long we will be here…

@Glee Girl – Petty stuff, yes – the things we get so concerned about sometimes, and yet it’s the things that matter the least. Good reminder to focus on what’s important…

@Sharon – I think the picture really drives the quote home. I feel a finality when I see the two in combination. And with finality, there is a sense of urgency – that this really is important.

@Brionne – Yes, they are powerful words, and a thought which is important to remember.

@Stacey – It’s difficult when you lose someone you’re close to, especially when it is unexpected. It’s difficult when it’s unexpected because – did we say the things we wanted to say? Probably not. When someone is nearing the end of their life, and it is expected, that gives us an opportunity to say the things we need to say (like Laurie above). But when it’s unexpected – that’s not the case. And this can leave a real hole in our hearts. And its’ a real reminder of why we shouldn’t wait to say or do the things that are important – we may never get that chance again. Stacey, thank you for sharing your story here today – and really showing us what this means to you. It helps many to hear these stories…


m October 13, 2008 at 8:20 am

Absolute! Show the ones we love how much we love them. Let people know how much we appreciate them….Very nice!


Lance October 13, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Mark – yes, love is where it’s at!


Jenny October 14, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Time is short, no one realizes it until it’s too late. All you can do is remind people that tomorrow is not a guarantee and hope they take it to heart.

This was a magnificent post, it really makes you think about what you should say or do NOW.

Jennys last blog post..Moments


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