It’s Always A Good Time to Say “I Love You”

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“If one were given five minutes warning before sudden death, five minutes to say what it had all meant to us, every telephone booth would be occupied by people trying to call up other people to stammer that they loved them.” | Christopher Morley, 1890-1957.

Last weekend I headed into TJ Maxx to kill about 15 – 20 minutes as I waited for my pizza at Brooklyn Pizzeria in Edgewater, NJ.

As I walked into the store through the clothing section to the back where the home goods were located;I noticed a  “junk table” filled with items markedLove for final sale. I quickly glanced at the table not thinking of it anymore and started to walk towards the bedding section when something called me to turn around to return to the sale items. Propped up on the table was a small white sign heavily marked up and scuffed, that simply read “You Are Loved.” Behind it was another plaque with the words “Love You More” written on it.

February 2012

It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon and Derek and I had just left our neighborhood restaurant,
The Art Cafe. The Art Cafe is a wonderfully bohemian Mediterranean/Mid-Eastern delight that makes (besides good food) an excellent cappuccino with intricate designs in the froth. It was becoming a tradition for us to stop in and chat over a cup of coffee or Derek’s favorite dish —
Shakshooka (two eggs baked in a flavorful tomato sauce topped with crumbled Bulgarian cheese and served with warm pita). I would make a mental game of carefully trying to drink my coffee without disturbing the frothed masterpiece — this time the barista had sculpted a delicate fern.

I had just bought Derek his birthday gift, a Samsung Galaxy, 3 weeks ahead of his actual birthday. Throughout our brunch, Derek excitedly schooled me on the all the phone’s cool features.

As we walked to the car to head out on our Sunday drive, he stopped for a moment and took my hand.   

“Thank you for my birthday gift, I love you” he said. His crystal blue eyes sparkling as a huge smile moved across his face. I replied, “Happy pre-Birthday. I love you too.”

“I love you more”

…to which I ended “I know you do…that is because you are loved.”

“I love you more….You are loved.” This was a daily exchange between us where we would let the other know how grateful we were to be in each other’s life.

For both of us the phrase “I Love You” carried a history of emotions and sometimes sadness. For myself, I always had a fear of saying “I Love You” to those dear to me. Since I lost my mother when I was a child, I was always afraid that those sacred words would become the other person’s death sentence. After losing the rest of my family and those that I loved, I couldn’t bear to lose another person in my life. And so, instead of saying “I Love You” I moved into a comfortable silence with friendships and romantic relationships. For Derek, while inwardly he yearned for a deep love, the echoes of his troubled emotional past caused deeper feelings of mistrust which resulted into a distorted wailing of love in his relationships.

When we met neither of us had truly loved selflessly — until then we loved selfishly. However we were able to commit our love into words because we no longer thought about our personal needs or our emotional pangs. “Our” became “Your” as we saw ourselves caring more about the other and helping each other to forgive the past and moved together into the future. We saw each other as a gift from God, sent to help each other to see each other’s highest potential. We were excited to be in each other’s life and expressed our love to each other every day.

I am forever thankful to the man who taught me how to love selflessly and helped me to remember that “Love is all there is.” I am thankful that I was able to provide the same lessons to him. I am no longer afraid to let those whom I love know how I feel about them. We can’t change the past and the future is not promised to us. The only thing that matters is our present which really is a gift/a present. Therefore we should show our gladness and love for those in our lives as often we can. For the warmth of those words not only helps us but those we share it with as well.

Sometimes, I catch myself in feelings of loneliness and abandonment, but it is in the synchronistic events like these that I press those moments into my mind and into my heart as they are a reminder that I am not alone even though Derek is not physically next to me.

And as I picked up the plaques and headed towards the register, I smiled at the synchronicity of the moment and the reminder of that gift.

“You are loved, Derek.”

And I could hear Derek whisper back to my heart, “That is because I love you more.”

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