Some years ago I read something which resonated with me and I’ve never forgotten the message. Contributors to O, The Oprah Magazine usually are asked questions relating to the issue’s major themes. One time there was a question about aging. A contributor answered that the older she gets, the more willing she is to tell others she loves them.
Of course I loved my husband and told him often. But, I have always, always been uncomfortable with saying “I love you” to others. Even as a teenager I don’t think I ever wrote a casual “I luv you” with the ubiquitous heart drawn above.
In the time since my husband’s cancer became terminal and today, I have made a shift. It is not without some long-seated hesitation, but I am authentic when I tell his daughters I love them. They adored their father and have been so gracious and kind to me. I could go on and on forever about their attributes, but they have their own stories to tell and they are not mine to convey – but suffice it to say that I am so grateful to receive from and give love to them. What a blessing!
There are some friends and cousins to whom I may say “I love you” as well. I can be vulnerable before them with my current unsteady emotions and behaviors, and yet they remain consistently in my life. How fortunate!
I relish in the knowledge that as an older person, I can speak my truth and receive affection back without fear.