This I Believe

Jennifer - Livingston, New Jersey
Entered on April 28, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I believe…Now is the time for I love you. I didn’t always think this way. I used to think there would be a time and a place to express myself. I was convinced that the perfect opportunity would naturally arise and the feelings in my heart, the thoughts in my soul would transform into words and actions…at the right time.

I graduated from college in 2000, my entire life ahead of me. I was a walking cliché: I was apartment-hunting, working for a children’s magazine in Manhattan, enjoying the city with my friends – the world was my proverbial oyster.

The reality I spent twenty-two years building crumbled in a whirlwind that lasted three months. The phone rang one day and I often wonder if life would be any different had I just let it ring. In the days and weeks that followed that call, I sat by my father’s side, desperately holding onto the hopes that he would recover from a sudden stroke. My wish never came true. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and, in an unfair match, lost the fight against his relentless opponent. I was his baby girl and my adult life was just beginning; his ended.

While his health deteriorated, I could not ignore the gaping darkness that grew in my stomach and tore at my heart. I needed more time but time was not an option. I had to find the words to explain that, though I often fought his point of view, his opinion was the one I valued most. I wanted that time to tell him that I respected his feelings and admired his perspective. While I often said the words “I love you” I wanted to be certain that he knew just how much he meant to me. I needed to tell him but I never got that chance because I kept waiting for a better time.

After he died, I seemed to have an endless amount of time. I couldn’t help but recognize that everything that happened from February 2, 2001 would happen without him. I spent a long time spewing anger at life and wallowing in the festering void that ate at me. The anger didn’t bring him back as I knew it wouldn’t. It certainly didn’t give me the perfect opportunity I was seeking to make sure he knew how much he meant to me.

I can’t change what I did or didn’t say to my father. I can’t show him through sincere gestures and obvious actions how much I loved him. I look back and I can only hope that my love was enough to get that message to him. I have to live with that reality; it is the past and I can’t change it. But I won’t let the past repeat itself.

Through losing my dad I discovered that long-awaited concept of the perfect opportunity: now is always the right time for I love you.