This I Believe

Alyson - Las Cruces, New Mexico
Entered on December 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in telling the people you love that you love them, everyday. For you never know when it will be the last.

Until recently, I had always been the shy girl in the back of the class, the one who wouldn’t talk to anyone. I remained idle, hoping, praying, I would become invisible. I hated when I was called on in class. I didn’t even like it when a friendly stranger smiled at me on the street. I kept my soul safe-guarded from society so that no one could shun me, no one could know me.

Then, my grandfather died. Without warning, without saying goodbye, and without knowing I loved him, he passed away.

Granted, he was rather non-existent in my life, but boy did I love that man: the way he always smelled like pennies, his burnt pork chops, his thick black glasses, and above all his bellowing laughter. When I heard the news, I just kept thinking “I should have told Granddaddy I loved him, all of him.” The thought of someone dying without knowing how much they meant to me haunted me unrelenting.

Today, I say I love you religiously, whether it is to family members I haven’t seen in years or my best friend who I haven’t seen in twenty minutes. Some people may think I am crazy yelling such sentiments across the Wal-Mart parking lot, but I argue it is the only way to live. I believe in telling someone you love their shoes, their smile, or simply who they are.

I am no longer satisfied with being invisible. I strive to be me, unreserved and free-spirited. I want those who mean something to me to know. Likewise, I want people to think I mean something to them, even if I am known as the girl who says I love you too much. I would rather say I love you ten thousand times a day than never say it at all.

This belief only became further cemented the day my Grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. You see, today when I go visit her she may hug me tightly with tears in her eyes and say sweetly “I’ve missed you.” Yet, there is an equal chance she will gaze at me in a fit of terror screaming “Who are you?” She may even beg me not to hurt her. I lack control over her reaction but I never lack control over my response. Always, “Grandma, I love you.” See, when she passes on not knowing my name or what I look like, she will leave knowing that her granddaughter loved her, heart and soul. That is satisfaction enough for me.

I love you. Those three little words have become a governing force in my life. I now believe: if you feel it, say it for every moment is fleeting.