Tell others you love them
On a Sunday afternoon in July 2009 I was pottering around my home when the telephone rang. Picking it up, I heard “Hi Sis”.
It was the voice of Peter, my baby brother calling from his hospital bed.
Although Peter had been ‘through the mill’ health-wise over the years, battling leukaemia and GVH (graft versus host disease) after a life saving bone marrow transplant, he had been admitted to hospital a couple of days earlier as a precautionary measure following a routine visit to his oncologist. In the days prior, Peter had been knocked low with the ‘flu and his blood work didn’t look too good so he was now found himself occupying a hospital bed.
I had been to visit him in the hospital just the day before. We had laughed and joked and to coin a phrase commonly used by my family, Peter was ‘full of life and bad manners’. He appeared to take great joy in teasing me about my skills in pushing a wheelchair and the apparent hearing loss he believed I had developed as a result of my ‘advancing’ age and big sister status.
”Hi Pete, what’s up”? I answered.
“Nothing much. My phone is just about dead so I was wondering if you could organise for my charger to come up to me.”
”Do you want me to tell Mum that you’re in hospital? She can bring it up to you.” I asked. Yesterday Peter had begged me not to tell the family anything.
”No. I don’t want her and Dad to know I’m in hospital. They will only worry and I’m fine. I’ll be home in a couple of days.”
We chatted a few minutes longer before Peter said “My phone hasn’t got much battery left so I’ll hang up now. I love you Sis.”
”I love you too mate.” I replied before ending the call.
Sadly, those words were the last I ever heard from him. With a diagnosis of H1N1 (or Swine Flu), he slipped into a coma two days later. I was so glad that I had gone against his wishes and told my parents that he was in hospital so they had the opportunity to see him prior to this occurring. Over the coming days, Peter’s body slowly shut down and each family member had the opportunity to say our goodbyes. Although Peter never awoke, we knew in our hearts that he heard us.
The knowledge that our last conversation held the words “I love you” brought me comfort in the days ahead. This knowledge was in stark contrast to the guilt that I experienced after the passing of my other brother David 15 years earlier. Then, I had experienced great unhappiness knowing that he had died without ever knowing how much he had meant to me and just how much I had loved him. It was a burden that I carried for a long time until I forgave myself.
Psychologists tell us that keeping love to ourselves is of no benefit. To be happy we require healthy relationships with others and part of keeping a relationship healthy is to share our feelings. The words “I love you” solidifies the bond between those in the relationship and assists in maintaining a strong relationship with the other person. Being open with our feelings makes us a more compassionate and allows us to let go of our egos and to give of ourselves.
Many times I have heard people say “They know how I feel. I don’t need to tell them.”
I’m here to tell you that it is incredibly important to share your feelings with those that you love. Tell them that you appreciate them. Tell them that you love them. Tell them of the happiness that they bring to your life. If you feel that you can’t say the words, put them in a note or a greeting card. Please believe me when I say that it’s not just those you love who will be blessed by your words but the blessings come to you as well.
Hearing the words “I love you” engenders happiness within us. Sharing the words “I love you” engenders happiness in others. Take the time each day to tell those in your life that you love them and the blessings and happiness that you share each time you do so, will come back to you.