Winning Words

Famous last words are not only for the famous

Column by Michael Norton
Posted 4/2/21

If someone were asked to recall the last thing that you had ever said to them, what would you hope those words would be? Famous last words are not just for the famous, and they are also not only …

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Winning Words

Famous last words are not only for the famous

Posted

If someone were asked to recall the last thing that you had ever said to them, what would you hope those words would be?

Famous last words are not just for the famous, and they are also not only limited to the dying. We all have something to say these days, don't we? And our famous last words may not really be our final last words, they might just be our last words for now.

We know what this sounds like when we are in a disagreement, one of us might say something like, “That's it, end of conversation.” The last words. It's not that the last word has to be contentious either, no, far from it. The last words could sound like, “I love you too.” And those are much nicer and warmer last words.

If we were to think back on a few of our most recent conversations, we might be able to relate to this as we can probably recall exactly what someone said before we parted company, ended a telephone conversation, or signed off on an email or text. Now, if we take another minute to imagine how others are reflecting on the last thing that they heard or read from us, would we be satisfied with what we said, or would we want a do-over?

As we relive our final words in a disagreement, we may find ourselves justifying our attitude, tonality, and word choices, believing that we said exactly what we wanted to say exactly how we wanted to say it. But then a funny thing happens, time starts to soften our hardened hearts, and when we replay the whole conversation, we realize that even in the heat of battle, we may have been better served taking the high road.

A last word that is filled with loving-kindness is almost never forgotten. As we replay those conversations, we are filled with such a great feeling that we can hardly wait to see or hear from that person again. As a matter of fact, the sooner the better.

When we think of getting in the last word, we do have a choice in what we will say. Will our words be filled with words that we might regret later? Or will we speak something so wonderful and encouraging that our spouse, our neighbor, or a friend will look forward to seeing us or hearing from us again? Many will remember where we start the conversation, a large percentage will not recall the middle, but almost everyone will remember what is said at the end.

This year my mom passed away. To say that she lived an interesting life would be determined by our interpretation or definition of the word interesting. She was very easy to tease and to rile up, especially if the subject was politics. And although the teasing was in good fun, she would sometimes end the call with a very colorful couple of words before abruptly hanging up.

Shortly after being admitted to the hospital, we knew that it was not looking good. Her heart was giving out. And although my mom was on-again and off-again when it came to her faith, during our very last conversation, she asked me about certain Scripture. She said she had been dreaming of a chapter and verse number, and asked me to read her the associated scriptures. When we hung up the phone, I really had no idea that would be the last time we spoke, as she passed away that night. But as I look back on my last words to her being filled with God's word, and her final words being, “I love you,” I take complete solace in how the call ended.

When you think of the conversations you have had recently, are you comfortable with the last words you used? Can you recall any wonderful last words spoken to you? I would love to hear your last word stories at mnorton@tramazing.com and when we realize that famous last words aren't only for the famous, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

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