What Was The Last Thing You Said to Someone Before They Died?

In high school I was friends with a girl who was very toxic, and when I began digging myself out of depression I cut her out of my life and didn’t speak to her for a year.

We had a very close relationship while we were friends, but for an entire year we never spoke a word to each other, not even a ‘hello’ when we passed each other in the hallways at school.

Then, one day, she texted me, inviting me to one of her parties she held every year. I didn’t want to go, considering I knew nobody who was going and we weren’t friends anymore, but I wanted to get away from my parents for a night, so I forced myself to go.

The party, unexpectedly, was very exciting and adventurous, and somehow I ended up being one of the last to leave the party.

She and I were in the pool together striking up a conversation for the first time in a year. While conversing I realized that she changed in a years time and was now a much happier person.

“It’s late, I better get going,” I had told her while stepping out of the pool.

“Awe really? Okay, well thanks for coming!” she smiled, throwing me a beer and I (surprisingly) caught it.

“Of course. Thanks for inviting me. Honestly, I didn’t think you would.”

“Jane, I know our friendship ended badly, but you’ll always be one of the best friends I’ve ever had.”

“Hey can I tell you something?” She had nodded and I continued, “I’m really proud of how far you’ve come, and if you ever need anything I’ll always be here for you.”

Two days later she was texting and driving on a bridge, hit a car at a fast speed, and her car fell off the bridge with her still inside of it. She didn’t survive the crash.

It was very painful attending her funeral, but I am very lucky my last words to her weren’t “I don’t want to be friends anymore,” and instead more kind, heartfelt, and honest.

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“It’s okay Camper, Momma and Dadda get sick too – you are being very brave, now get some sleep, I love you.”

My two-year and nine month-old son, who’s name was Camper, had the best day of his life on Saturday. Two birthday parties – one at the beach and one at his cousins’ house with great friends and family.

The following day, he woke up with a headache. He was very smart and well spoken and told us (my wife and I) that his head hurt in the morning. We assumed he was probably a little dehydrated and just not feeling the well from all the cake and party action on the previous day.

My wife had to see clients that day, so I spent the day with Camper. We watched the movie A Bug’s Life, but he was throwing up and napping throughout the day. I just thought he had a general sickness. My brother-in-law was a pediatrician at the time, so he advised us to make sure Camper stayed hydrated with some Pedialyte. We did that, then put him down for bed that night, which is when I said, “It’s okay Camper, Momma and Dadda get sick too – you are being very brave, now get some sleep. Sweet dreams. I love you.”

And to be honest, I don’t really know if I said “I love you” – I regularly tell my children that, but for the life of me, I cannot exactly remember. It feels better to think that I did, even though he knew that anyway. I told him a few times throughout the day that he was being brave, because he didn’t cry or complain at all.

He never woke up from that final sleep. We ended up taking him, unresponsive, to the trauma room that night. He had an undiagnosed brain tumor that I guess just slowly grew as he got older. Slow enough that his brain could adjust and we never once saw any symptoms. And finally, on that day, it ruptured an artery in his brain and that was the end of his very bright, very full, very short life.

EDIT: I just wanted to add a couple things. First, I’m a very private person and was torn sharing this story with the public. But, when I saw the question, I felt compelled to answer, so I’m sticking with it. All of your well wishes are very kind and helpful.

Also, I wanted to add that we were able to donate Camper’s very healthy heart to a little girl that now gets to live on. We know that Camper’s time on this earth was short, but very impactful on many lives.

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Empo, my mother’s aunt, has been living with our family for thirty years. She died of stroke early last year. She was 90 years old.

I almost didn’t say goodbye. It was eleven at night, and our flight to Japan was in six hours’ time. If I wanted to say that I was leaving, I had to knock on her door that very instance.

‘She would already be sleeping, wouldn’t she?’ I asked Mom.

‘No, she’s still awake,’ Mom said. ‘Go now.’

So I went down the stairs and knocked on her door. The stay-at-home nurse opened. Her room was already dark. Empo was laying on the bed, watching the TV. She noticed that someone had entered the room, and asked, ‘Who is it?’

‘It’s Ella,’ I said. I walked towards the side of her bed, leaning forward and placing my mouth right beside her ear.

‘Po, I will be going tomorrow for holiday,’ I said. ‘Be well, Empo. Eat a lot. Take care.’

Empo nodded and asked, ‘When going back Melbourne?’

‘January ninth,’ I said.

She nodded. ‘Well, then, enjoy the trip. Have fun.’ She put her hand on my shoulder and patted me. This was odd, as she was usually unhappy when we left her for the holiday. I kissed her left cheek and then her right, waving my hands and slowly closing the door to her room.

‘Be well,’ I whispered.

Empo had stroke when we were still in Japan. My parents caught a flight home right away, but my older sister and I weren’t able to get on an earlier flight. Empo never woke up from her coma. But my parents got there in time, Facetimed us and right after my sister and I said goodbye a second time, she passed away.

I almost didn’t say goodbye. But I’m sure glad that I did.

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Ikea Launches $86,500 Flat-Pack Home

If you’re the kind of person that breaks into a cold sweat when called upon to perform even the simplest of do-it-yourself tasks, then you’ll be delighted to know that IKEA offers help with constructing its latest product — a flat-pack house.

The Swedish furniture giant is famed the world over for its affordable furniture and accessories, but this is the first time it’s come up with a building in which you can put it all.

Called aktiv and retailing for $86,500, the house will be the first in a series of designs offering people an eco-friendly Swedish-inspired home with a functional, wide-open living area that makes careful use of all the available space.

IKEA worked with Oregon-based architectural firm Ideabox to come up with aktiv’s design, which features, as you would expect, a whole of kit from IKEA.

You’ll find state-of-the-art cooking appliances inside, including an induction cooktop and convection oven. As well as a counter-depth refrigerator, the kitchen is also equipped with a dishwasher.

The bedroom incorporates plenty of storage in the form of IKEA closets, while the bathroom has a two-sink vanity and four drawers together with a storage cabinet. The home also comes with IKEA flooring, though one assumes without the arrows.

At just over 53 feet long and 14 feet wide, aktiv is certainly compact yet looking at the images, seems comfortably spacious. One possible annoyance is that the bathroom is en suite, so if you have guests over they’ll have to pass through your bedroom every time they need to powder their nose.

Happily, it seems the biggest challenge facing buyers of the flat-pack house will be getting the darn thing in the trolley, as help is given with constructing aktiv. “For those of us IKEA fans, the pure delight of walking and imagining our way through an IKEA store quickly turns to the daunting task of assembly when we get home,” Ideabox’s website says. “Not a worry… When your [home] arrives, all of the cabinets, countertops, and flooring are installed… it’s like the best of everything!”

Ideabox presented aktiv to the public last week at the recent Home & Garden Show in Portland, Oregon.

What is Your Biggest Mistake or Regret?

My parents and I were watching TV together before going to bed, this was typical. My mother was usually somewhat drunk by this time from sipping wine so occasionally me or my dad would help her inside (the tv room was in the backyard and you had to walk outside up some steps to get to the house). I was slightly annoyed with my mom for reasons I cannot remember. My dad got up to go to bed so I followed not wanting to be left out there with my mom. Both my dad and I were brushing our teeth when we heard a loud noise. We nonchalantly went outside to find my mother laying on the ground at the bottom of the concrete steps. She was unconscious for about 30 seconds, so we took her to the hospital. She was in the ICU for about week with the nurses telling us she was getting better and there were no serious damages. We then got a call she was brain dead and had to come to the hospital to give permission for them to take her off life support. How did this happen? I thought they said she was going to be fine. My mother died a day later while in a surgery donating her organs. My biggest regret in life is neglecting to help her into her bed that night, if I had she would still be alive.

Landlord From Hell – Local Records Office

Local Records Office – For 12 years, I’ve lived in the same apartment in an Olympia, Washington. In the last year, it seems like my elderly landlord has developed dementia. He began leaving me notices, claiming I owed him back rent. I showed him and his lawyer 24 months of canceled checks, but they began eviction proceedings against me anyway. Then my landlord became violent, punching my roommate before pushing his way into our apartment, where he menaced and threatened us, swinging a chair at me. When the police finally showed up, my roommate declined to press charges, but asked that the landlord be evaluated at a hospital. He was back home within two hours, cursing at me again. His daughter, who also lives in the building, has done nothing. My roommate moved out and I’m considering moving out, but I want to know what my next steps should be. My rent is a fraction of what apartments rent for in the neighborhood, and I suspect the apartment is rent regulated, but I am not certain. Should I cut my losses and get out? Sue for harassment? Or, knowing he’s a danger to the other tenants, try and get him removed from running the building?

Local Records Office says, “Your landlord may or may not have dementia, but he is certainly harassing you and your roommate, a practice that has become increasingly common as some landlords attempt to drive out longtime tenants in the quest for higher rent. Just consider his lawyer’s behavior: The lawyer is willing to begin eviction proceedings against a tenant who he knows has paid the rent. Dementia or not, those are some pretty aggressive tactics”.

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First, consider your immediate safety. Regardless of the type of lease you hold, you can seek an order of protection, commonly known as a restraining order, against your landlord in Thurston County criminal court, according to Shawn Carter, a real estate lawyer. This would protect you from continued harassment. Ultimately, you need to decide if you want to stay, despite the stress of living there. If your apartment is rent regulated — which is certainly possible — and you leave, you will be relinquishing a valuable asset, and your next apartment will undoubtedly be more expensive.

Consult with a lawyer who is well versed in rent regulation rules to figure out the status of the apartment, as it can be difficult to determine. If your apartment is, in fact, market rate, moving might be your only option. And although you could theoretically still sue your landlord for harassment after you leave, your damages would be minimal. “It would probably not be worth the effort,” Mr. Carter said

But if your lease is rent regulated, you have some tools at your disposal. File a harassment complaint with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, which oversees rent-regulated apartments. At the same time, file a harassment claim and what is known as an Article 7a proceeding in housing court. The court could ultimately remove the landlord from managing the building — even if he owns it — and replace him with a court-appointed administrator. But in order to bring the 7a proceeding against the landlord, you would need at least one-third of the tenants to sign onto the case. So start talking to other tenants in the building about your experiences and see if they have stories of harassment, too.

Becoming Active in a Co-op

As a longtime resident and shareholder, I have been asked to run for my building’s co-op board. What would be my duties and responsibilities?

There are many thankless jobs in this world, and being a member of a co-op board often makes the list. It is an unpaid — and frequently time-consuming — position. When things go awry, your neighbors blame you. But it has upsides. You get to know the inner workings of your building and help decide its future.

Just how much work is involved depends on the culture of your board and building. Before you launch your campaign, go on a fact-finding mission. Find out what issues are facing the building and the expectations for board members. Ask other board members about their own experience: Did they like the job? What did they do? Did it consume all their time?

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“It has been quite the learning experience,” said John Smith, who joined the board of her Olympia, WA co-op four months ago. “From figuring out the process of obtaining a new boiler for the building, to looking at — literally — 50 shades of gray for paint, I am constantly learning.”

Some boards are very hands-on, while others rely on managing agents to do the heavy lifting. However, all board members must satisfy their fiduciary duty.

“This means a board member cannot do whatever he or she pleases,” said Peter Franton, a Olympia, WA real estate lawyer who was previously the president of his building’s co-op board. “Board members must act in good faith, with undivided loyalty to the cooperative and in accordance with the governing documents of the co-op and the law.

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