Monday, August 11, 2014

Saying I Love You

Whenever I end a conversation with close friend or loved one, I nearly always say, “I love you.” I do the same whenever we part.

Both my niece and my godchild caught onto this when they were little girls. As our conversations began to wind down, each of them tried to beat me in saying it. And often, they did.

Why am I so deliberate about telling those I care about that I love them? Because one day when I was seven years old, my father went to work in the morning and never came home. I didn’t have the chance to tell him I loved him. I learned far too early that we never know when it might be the last time we’ll see or speak to the special people in our lives.

Larry was blessed with parents who were married 67 years before his mother died, but also grandparents who were married 63 years when his grandfather died. On our wedding night, he told me his grandmother had said the thing she missed the most when his grandfather died was not saying, ‘I love you,’ each night before they went to sleep.

“I’d really like to start that tradition in our marriage,” he said. And we have. In fact, when he was doing a lot of traveling for work, he’d call each night so we could say it to each other. I found I had trouble nodding off without hearing his voice at the end of the day.

We also say the words first thing when we wake in the morning and each time we leave each other. In the mornings when we were working, Larry usually left earlier than I did, but before he got into the car, he always came back to the bedroom to kiss me good-bye. At that time, we also reminded each other that we loved each other.

One morning I heard the garage open, followed by the car pulling out and the door closing. My first thought was: I didn’t get my good-bye kiss.

About ten minutes later, the phone rang. “I just realized I never went back upstairs to kiss you good-bye.” We laughed because we and both felt something was missing in our day.

I later found out Larry’s request that we say the words before going to sleep was unusual because, although we never had a doubt that his parents adored each other, his mother once told me that his dad never said the words. Instead, she always said, “I love you, Murl.” His response was, “Me, too.” I even wrote this into my novella, “Finding Love in Paradise,” in our romance anthology, Directions of Love.

Although Larry’s father, whom I always called ‘Dad,’ didn’t seem comfortable using the words, I always kissed him and told him I loved him every time we parted. A couple of years after Larry’s mother died, he left me a voice message, which ended, “I love you, honey.” I cried when I heard it and kept the message on my machine for a year.

From that point on, he grew more comfortable saying the words to me and my sister-in-love. And his very last words to me before he died, after I kissed him and said, “I love you, Dad,” were, “I love you, too.” What a special gift.

Years ago, our young friend, John Osborne, died. Although he had many friends who cared about him, I was never sure he actually knew it. At his memorial service, many people expressed their affection for him, and I felt sad to think that perhaps he had never heard the words during his lifetime.

I don’t want my friends and family to wonder about how I felt about them. When I say, “I love you,” I mean it. And I try to say it often.


  1. You brought tears to my eyes. So true, yes.

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  3. That's really sweet! A great tradition!

  4. This is a wonderful message, Lorna. I say "I love you" to my three brothers each time we say goodbye -- in person or on the phone -- but only in the last 10 years, as we approach our "old age". It's a lovely sentiment we feel but don;'t say enough, I feel.

  5. Beautiful, simple and profound words, Lorna. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us.

    1. As you can probably tell, this is really important to me. something we all should think about.