…to tell someone you love them.
There’s the hug when they walk into the room. There’s the way your eyes light up when you see them, and the ‘I’m so glad you’re here!’ that you whisper into their ear. There’s the laughter you share, and the private jokes.
There’s the lifetime of memories: the special Christmases made all the better by the knock of your loved one on the front door, and their silhouette in your hallway, and the presents – always the same, but no less loved because of that – which, year upon year, they gave you. There’s the way you used to watch, open-mouthed, as this person you love did magic trick after magic trick, opening your mind to a world you couldn’t understand but were fascinated by. There’s the Bruce Lee posters on his wall, the tiny hints of a hidden life, one separate from you – a grown-up life, full of mystery. There’s the motorbike parts in the living room, which made the other adults tut, but which made you smile because it seemed so cool. So free.
There are the memories you’ve made from all the family gatherings – the happy and the sad – made whole and perfect by the fact that your loved one was part of them. It wouldn’t be the same without him.
It wouldn’t be the same.
You show you love him in the way you roll your eyes as he rolls another cigarette, and the chuckle he gives to show he knows you care, but he’s going to smoke it anyway. There’s the glint in his eye as he stands at the pub door, and the nodding assurance that he’ll make sure to get home safe. There’s the affectionate way he tells you he’ll be grand and not to be worrying about him, but both of you know you will worry, regardless.
There are the bad jokes that you can’t help laughing at. There are the phone handsets that fascinate him, and the crazy ringtones, and the way you smile when he wants to show you all of them, all at once. It’s the the fact that he doesn’t eat broccoli because he doesn’t like the look of it, and you just let him away with it even though you shouldn’t.
There’s the fact that he brings an umbrella with him no matter what the weather – and you never make anything of it, even for fun. It’s just part of who he is, and you love it because you love him.
But I realised when this beloved person became suddenly, deathly ill, that in all my life I have never told him I love you. I have never spoken the actual words, the simplest and hardest in the world. Of course I hope I have shown it through actions, through the enjoyment of his company, through all the smiles we’ve shared and the happy days we’ve spent together. There haven’t been enough of those, of course. Of course.
But I have never spoken the words. Today I’m thankful I get the chance.
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share their warm wishes with me after yesterday’s post. My uncle remains stable after surgery, but I would ask you to continue the good wishes and prayers, with my gratitude. There is still a long way to go.