Former Alabama QB Freddie Kitchens is now the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, and after taking over for former OC Todd Haley eight games into the season, has led the Browns to a 5-2 mark.

He almost never reached this point, though, as back in 2013, he suffered an aortic dissection and doctors didn’t give him a very good chance to live.

However, he survived, and in an open letter shared via, Kitchens says he’s learned that — especially at this time of year — letting people know how you feel about them is the greatest gift of all:

After surviving and making a full recovery, I decided to always let the people around me know what they mean to me. What is wrong with making sure your loved ones hear “I love you”? Or ensuring the people who are close to you hear “I appreciate you”? So please, use this time of year to let the people you care about know those things before it is too late. I promise that is something you will never regret.

That’s a good lesson to learn, and hopefully more of us can learn it without having a near-death experience.

Thankfully, Kitchens survived, and his offense is making it a very merry Christmas in Cleveland.