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The promise

Every night, before I go to bed, I say goodnight to both of my parents and tell them that I love them. When they walk up the stairs to go to their own bed, I say it again. Should I get up and walk past their room in the night, I repeat.

If ever I leave the house, be it for school or just a trip to the shops, I always say goodbye and tell them that I love them. I hang up phone calls in the same way.

So many of my friends find this strange. They just go to bed. They see no reason for the performing of such a formal ritual each time I plan to leave the house, but the more I think about it, the more I realise that I couldn’t possibly live any other way. If I went to bed without having told my parents that I loved them, I don’t think that I would be able to sleep. And that is not because I am needy, or strange…

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I cannot guarantee that there will be another opportunity to tell my parents that. I can’t be certain that we will all still be here, as we are now, tomorrow. I can’t even be certain of another minute of our existence.

When people die, those left behind always try to think about the last time they saw that person. Who said what? And, whilst it doesn’t make the grief any easier, it is always so much better to know that the last words, from both parties, were “I love you”.

Of course, I do not spend every moment of every day acting in a way that protects me in the unlikely event that tragedies should occur, but I love the people I love and I see no reason why I should pretend otherwise. I want them to always know that I love them, regardless of what happens.

So, despite how people view it, I will continue to tell everyone I love, that I love them. Perhaps that is just to protect myself from guilt but, even if that was the case, would that be so wrong?

Telling someone that you love them is like a promise: a promise that you will both be there again when you need each other and perhaps even when you don’t.


  • Lovely Emma!
    I was fortunate to be able to have a wonderful talk with my father just prior to his passing. That meant the world, to both of us.
    Like you, I tend to say, “I love you” often to the people in my little world. It feels wonderful to say that and wonderful to receive in kind.

  • gemmadean@icloud.com gemmadean@icloud.com says:

    Lovely article Emma! Very well written too x

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