Jennifer Hillier

Three little words

Jun 21, 2009 | Uncategorized

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately, which I suppose is no surprise considering that three people I cared about have passed away in the last eight months.  I write about death all the time – but I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t.  There’s so much ugliness in the world right now that I’m starting to think I want no part in contributing to it, even if it’s just me writing a story.

I find myself packed and ready head back to Toronto for another funeral.  And yes, I was just there for a funeral.  It goes to show that you never know what’s waiting for you around the corner.  Life is unbelievably short in the grand scheme of things.   So if you find yourself waiting for that perfect moment to do that perfect thing, DON’T.  Don’t save your good china for company, don’t wait for that perfect occasion to wear that little black dress, don’t wait till tomorrow to tell the people you love that you love them.

For the past few years, I’ve been making a point to tell everyone how I feel about them. I’ve been dropping I love you‘s all the over the place, and I always find it interesting how people react.  Obviously, my husband and my mother don’t mind a bit.  Neither do my three best friends.  And my brother’s getting there.  But everyone else kinda freaks out.  I hug them, I say I love you (usually as I’m leaving), and their eyes widen slightly. Postures stiffen.  It almost never comes back to me. I might get a kiss on the cheek or an extra squeeze, but the words never seem to boomerang.

Telling people how you feel about them – how you really feel – is not easy.  I’ve sort of bullied the people closest to me into getting used to it, and now we say it freely.  Not lightly, mind you, but openly, honestly, and without reservation.  And I think our relationships are stronger for it.  And I do understand that not everyone is comfortable with those three little words.   But I find it ironic that so many people I know won’t hesitate to swear, won’t shy away from a tasteless joke, and will delight in talking openly about sex… and yet they can’t say “I love you”.

Which makes me wonder why.  Why is it so hard?  Why do people feel so vulnerable expressing something so pure?

These aren’t rhetorical questions.  I honestly want to know.

I don’t ever want the people I care about to die without me having expressed how much they meant to me.  It would haunt me if I never told them and they went to their graves with any doubts.  Because there’s no need for that.  This is something so easily remedied. And it costs nothing.

So, to all my family and friends, I love you.  Obviously, not all in the same way – love comes in different shapes and sizes, just like our relationships do – but I do love you.  If you’re in my life, you add to my life in a unique and special way that nobody else quite does.  You’re a part of my life because I want you to be, and I’m a better person for having known you.

Are you embarrassed reading this?  Rolling your eyes at the cheesiness of this post?  Wondering when the punch line’s coming?  Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no punch line, except for those three little words that probably make you cringe every time I write them.  And maybe this post is cringe-worthy.   But I don’t care.  Because if one of us dies tomorrow – and let’s face it, that could happen – I won’t regret telling you I loved you.

I’d regret it if I didn’t.