You never know what’s gonna happen in the future. Obviously. We can make plans, but at the end of the day, really everything can change in just a split second.
You should always tell people that you love them. Or, one day, you will regret it.
My Grandpa Z (my dad’s dad) was one of those super old world Italian guys. He was very stoic. He grew up during one of the most difficult eras in America – The Great Depression. He used to tell us stories about him and his brothers and sisters having to put 2 small chairs together so that they could sleep because they had no beds. He used to re-use paper towels and tinfoil and we used to make fun of him for that…although I do kinda feel bad about that now…it was all that he knew. He lived through a time of great poverty. He also had a super cool handlebar mustache.
He also served as a medic in the military during WW2. He was a hard working guy who just went through life not really showing any “feelings”…he didn’t tell people that he loved them and he was not affectionate as far as I could ever see or feel. We all knew he loved us…but he never said it…
Until one day!
I remember talking to him on the phone when I had moved to Dallas and when our conversation was done, I would say, “I love you”…and he would always say, “Alright Jen, goodbye”. This was SOP for him. On this particular day though, I said, “Grandpa…how come you never tell me that you love me back? Don’t you?” He said, “Of course I do!” and then I said, “Well, I want you to start saying it to me!!” He said, “Ok, I will…” I said, “Let’s hear it.”
Pause….breath….”I love you, Jen.” Big smile on my face. Victory.
From then on, it was game ON! I love you’s were everywhere between us! I think he somehow felt freer if that makes any sense. He even started telling others that he loved them. It was cool. It was beautiful. It was awesome.
Imagine how different things would have been if I had not stepped out and took a chance in asking him!! Oh how different life would have been.
This is another one of my stories that makes me cry because I can remember it so very well. It was such a happy moment. He and I became much much much closer after that. I think that his relationships with a lot of other people changed too.
I miss that man dearly. I love you, Grandpa.
“I love you.” Such simple words that make all of the difference in the world.
Telling someone, “I love you” makes you vulnerable. It is hard to be vulnerable because it also means that you can get hurt. Sometimes, well all of the time, it is just easier for us to keep our walls up and make assumptions that people somehow know how we feel. I will tell you though, and I am sure you will agree, it sure is freakin’ nice to hear it. So, when you love someone…let them know.
I have loved many and I have been hurt by many. It is just the way it is…but I will tell you that I have lived! I have no regrets. I have learned from my past and I am good with it. I still tell people that I love them, always…even if it is not returned.
One of my favorite books…The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, says of love:
“When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And When his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And When he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden…
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears…
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.”
|Gramps on the left with his brother, Sam 2003.|