“I love you Mom!”  Oh, how I wish I would have told Katheen Mitchell Crowell these four simple words before her death. However, speaking love was not in our family’s vocabulary. It was not spoken…ever. This is a tragedy!

Today Spokane’s newspaper has a two-page article honoring a dead man. This is a too-late tragedy. The one being honored does not have the experience to read it for himself and bathe in kind words. His spirit is not nourished with joy and gratitude by the words of praise thousands will read.

Not long ago while on a neighborhood walk, a couple told me about Gary Lindeblad. This couple’s son had the worst kind of acne at the age of 16. He had also been cut from the baseball team. While visiting in Spokane, the grandfather saw his grandson’s grief and took him for a golden golf lesson with Gary Lindeblad, the most famous pro golf coach in the Spokane region. Gary honored and respected this damaged boy. After one session, Gary gave him two quality clubs: “If you are going to beat Tiger Woods, you need good clubs.”

After three years of being mentored by Gary Lindeblad, the young man applied to enter Gonzaga University. He was required to write an entrance paper on one person who had impacted his life in a profound way. He chose Gary Lindeblad, giving him credit for changing his life.

Later, Gary Lindeblad was asked if he had seen this young man’s written paper. The answer was No. Gary’s three trusted and respected leaders at the amazing Kalispel Golf and Country Club (the region’s finest) were then mailed a copy by the Spokesman-Review sports editor. My joy was hand delivering this college-entrance paper to Gary Lindeblad. Being a very humble man, Gary read the paper in private. When asked about tears, Gary reluctantly admitted he shed tears of gratitude. My hope is that the Spokane newspaper will pay tribute to Gary before it is too late.

The intent of every Word of Hope is to inspire, encourage and motivate the reader to action. Who do you need to honor NOW before it is too late? 

For me, I am so sorry I did not know how to verbally say I love you to my mom. Yet now, there are two ways I am trying to pay for this loss. Mom, I choose to pay forward by telling people how much I loved you and to live in such a way you would be proud of me, your son.