After losing my mom I realized how important it is to tell people that you LOVE them. Shortly after losing mom I must have called my dad 12 plus times per day to make sure he was alright and not lying on the floor unconscious somewhere. I drove him crazy for a while but I’ve calmed down since. Once I was trying to call him and for hours no one answered the phone. I called his neighbors but no one was home and then I went into panic mode. I called my husband at work and begged him to please go check on him. He worked about 20 minutes away and headed up the parkway to check on “Willie”.
My phone rang and it was John telling me that my dad was ok and passed him the phone. He was chopping wood in the yard. Yes, my 80-year-old dad was chopping wood. Willie thinks he’s 25. I immediately started crying hysterically, relieved that he was ok. Daddy apologized and from that day forward he calls me when he leaves the house or has an appointment. I know I drive him crazy but I can’t bear the thought of losing another parent.
Losing my mom was difficult enough but if I lost my dad on top of that I would feel like there was no one in the entire world who loved me. I would be alone in the world forever and ever. That’s why my dad and I ALWAYS say “I love you” when we’re ready to hang up the phone or when I leave his house or he leaves mine.
It only takes a minute. I’ll tell you all a secret that plagues me and will always plague me until the day I die – and if Sartre has anything to do with my afterlife, it will haunt me forever. I have never told anyone, not even my husband. The last time I actually spoke to my mom when she was actually conscious, was on a Wednesday night. I was watching the season finale of Project Runway and my mom called to tell me about all the stuff that Billy, her neighbor, brought over. I half listened and said, “Mommy, is it alright if I call you back? I’m watching something on TV.” She told me to go ahead and she would talk to me later.
When “later” came I called her back but she was already getting sick and couldn’t really talk. I hung up the phone thinking I would talk to her tomorrow. By tomorrow she was in the ER and by the time my father decided to tell me that she was in Mountainside Hospital, it was late Thursday night or Friday. I can’t even remember anymore.
My parents always protected me from the truth. They told me that Buffy from “Family Affair” died because they kept her a little girl for too long, and for years I believed that Elvis died from eating too many hamburgers. Protecting me from their truths was a high priority. When my dad called he said that she was in the hospital and doing fine. By Saturday he said, “Jacq, I think you better come up.”
When I heard those words come out of my father’s mouth, I knew Mommy was in trouble. I raced up north and spent the next two days with her and watched her die. I was so happy to be with her but I will never get the image out of my mind. I can never forget. I will never forget her and I will never forget, or at least I hope I never forget, to tell the people I love most that I love them.
In the past I always thought that made me a “pussy” – showing emotion and all – but now I realize how important those three words are. So tell your family and your friends how you feel. Say those THREE heartfelt words that mean so much to both you and the people who you tell… just say – I LOVE YOU!