Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Gift Of 'I Love You'

Telling my parents how much I loved them, the kisses, the cuddles, the tickling and laughter . . . it was all so easy as a young child.  Then childhood gave way to teenage years and suddenly saying "I love you" was no longer cool.  Kisses and hugs given only under protest (if at all).
Entering my 20's brought a different perspective and I found that hugging and kissing loved ones was ok again.  The "I love you's" though, somehow they were harder.  I could put them in writing but whenever someone said those three words the best I could do was reply "me too".
The year I turned 30 was a tough one.  I thought he would always be there but I guess Cancer had other ideas.  Holding my dad's hand in his final moments, the words "I love you" were suddenly held hostage by my sobs.  When someone is dying hearing is the last sense to go.  I wish I could have found my voice that day and whispered those words to him as he left us.
His death was a wake up call in so many ways but saying "I love you" was an important one.  It made me realize what a gift those three little words can be.  Now I'm left wondering why I never said it more and if my dad were alive today I wouldn't hesitate to tell him how much I love him followed swiftly by a big kiss and a hug.

Happy Birthday Dad and thank you for the gift of "I Love You".


  1. Kathryn,
    This sounds familiar. While I was growing up, I remember being very happy and knowing I was loved, but there was nothing physical or verbal about it. When I got older, I became quite the opposite. I am a very touchy person. I love to hug people I care about and I tell my friends and family that I love them all the time. However, when my brother was dying, I was by his side holding his hand, but I said very little. I was numb knowing I was going to lose him. I regret that I didn't say I LOVE YOU to him ~ I think he would have heard me. My consolation is that he KNEW that I loved him and I hope he knew that I was there by his side. And, you have to know that your Dad KNEW that you loved him, too. I hope your day is filled with happy memories of times you spent with your Dad.
    I think your post rings true for many people.
    ♥ audrey

  2. Oh, you brought tears to my eyes. Sending hugs to you. This past week, my 86-year-old friend was sick and facing moving out of her home into a care facility, and I said those words out loud to her for the first time, not knowing why I had never said them before.

    But I feel in my heart that your father, he knew.


  3. What a reminder of the pwer of those three words and how letting them go, out into the world and into the ears and hearts of those whom we love, is the greatest gift.

  4. Reading this..and crying..and remembering how I never had that chance to say it to my father before he died. Lessons learned..sadly.
    Beautiful post!

  5. This is a beautiful post and reminder. I have to believe that your father knew. You held his hand. Sometime the words are there, but quiet, like your whispers.

    With my children, I say I love you a lot. But I also know there are other ways to tell them -- cuddling while we read, taking the time to braid their hair, being patient during math lessons. I think I'll use your post as inspiration to see how many ways I can tell them "I love you" today.

    1. My father and I were cut from the same mold . . . not big talkers and we'd often communicate with just a look. I love how you tell your kids you love them in many ways. It's so true that we can express our love in ways beyond words. Thanks for such a beautiful comment and for finding inspiration in this post.

  6. So moved by your post...very similar story to mine. But I know that my dad knew I loved him and I am certain yours did too. Some things are just beyond words. Sending you a big old cyber hug.

  7. It is a great lesson, one to use wisely as we evolve. As a kid, we didn't say "I love you" much in my family, but with my wife, we say it all the time. I must admit she rescued me from the effects of a difficult upbringing. Wonderful post today.