Written by Tracey Lemming, Photo by Laurilyn Farms http://www.laurilynfarms.com/
At the beginning of 2018, I had a dream that something bad happened to my Grandma Fellure. I can’t even remember it, but it woke me up and gave me a knowing that I needed to tell her that I loved her. She was my only living grandparent, and I realized that once she was gone, I would miss her and her stories, and our connection to the past. I knew that my Grandma loved me, but the words weren’t often said. We would talk on the telephone, but as life gets busy, sometimes we forget about those who we love the most, and don’t get the chance to speak as often as we would like.
So, I called her a few days later. I worked up the courage to tell her that I loved her. She kept talking, and I was thinking, boy, maybe she didn’t hear me, or maybe she didn’t want to say it back. I can’t remember if she said that she loved me too at the end of that conversation, but in the coming phone calls it became the words that we ended with. ”Thanks for calling, and I love you.” Little did I know that it wasn’t my Grandma would leave this world in 2018, but her son, my Uncle Steve a few short months later. She needed to hear the words “I love you” and the support of her loved ones. She no longer had someone to stop by daily and have coffee with her. I can’t imagine how she felt, knowing that she should have been the one who went first, not her child. She had lost my Grandpa 19 years prior, but she said that losing a child was the worst.
Grandma got through the winter, and we continued to talk often. I put in a reminder in my phone to call her frequently. I always looked forward to the part of the conversation where she told me she loved me. I know she loved that part too because she told my Aunt how we always said “I love you” at the end of our phone calls. My last conversation with my Grandma was at the end of May 2019. I was excited to tell her about the updates in my life, and how I was going to be starting my yoga teacher training soon. She told me how proud of me she was for being me and all that I had done in my life. That wasn’t something that I expected or heard often from her, but I was thankful for our conversation and her expressing this to me. It meant so much to me at that moment. I didn’t know that would be our last phone call, and would mean the world to me for the rest of my life.
When my Grandma fell and hit her head a week later, and the doctor’s determined that nothing else could be done, I hopped on a plane to see my Grandma and say my final goodbye. Thankfully, although Grandma’s communication was limited, we knew that she knew we were with her. And thankfully, she could still say “I love you.” The same words that we had said to each other each time we spoke for the last year and a half. The most important words that you can tell your loved ones.
Maybe you don’t often hear or say those words to some of your loved ones. You assume that they know. But, if there’s someone in your life who you haven’t said these words to in awhile or ever, consider telling them how you feel. It takes courage and can feel a bit awkward, as you don’t always know how the recipient will react. Maybe they will say the words back immediately, or maybe they will keep talking as they weren’t expecting to hear this. Either way, it doesn’t matter. What if the words “I love you” were exactly what your loved one needed to hear, or exactly what you needed to say? It only takes a few moments to say these words.