I Love You

You know how people say to tell family and friends you love them, to tell them you love them right now because who knows, by tomorrow without a moment’s notice they may be gone, and for the rest of your days you’ll regret that you didn’t say I Love You. When you had the chance. Well, my mother never told me I Love You. I had never said I Love You to her either, but then how could I? I think we were both good with that.

I was with my mother during the last weeks of her life. I’d taken off time from work to spend with her, and those days were maybe the best we’d had together. I sat by her bed and sometimes we talked and sometimes we didn’t, both of us sedated by her death, by its presence in the room. Eventually the day came, though, that I had to return to work. I promised her I’d be back after the first of the year, even though she and I both knew there’d be no after the first of the year. But how else could we have said Goodbye?

That last day I moved slowly. I tried to hold those moments even as they ran like sand through my fingers. She’d been sleeping all day, settling deeper into her bed, one long thin arm resting over the top of her blanket. When the last moment came, when I had to leave or I’d miss my train, I stood outside her door and looked in. Should I tell her I loved her? Why was I uncomfortable? I could take that moment of action or live a future of regret. I took the moment. I walked to her bed and gently ran my finger down her bare arm. She didn’t open her eyes, but she could hear me. I leaned over and said, “I Love You.” I waited. “OK,” she said.

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