Tell Them


A few weeks ago, a close friend lost her father to cancer.

Familial relationships aren’t always easy. If we’re really, really fortunate, we luck into family that loves and supports us and ‘gets’ us in a way that others might not. We might even like our family members in addition to loving them out of genetic obligation!And even into the best relationships, a little rain must fall. Certainly, we’ve all had yelling matches about why can’t I wear that belly shirt to church! Stop stifling me! You can’t choose your family, but you can choose how you interact with them and how you express your love for them.

At the risk of going all existential on you, your parents aren’t going to be around forever. And neither are you. The world is rife with speeding trains and cancer-causing fumes and open manholes. Accidents happen. Don’t be the person who regrets a fractured, tenuous relationship, when a well-placed email or phone call could mend those bridges.Tell your family you love them.

Dear Mom,

I like you so hard. If we were co-workers instead of family members, I’d still want to hang out with you. It might take me a while to look past your cargo shorts and see your dry sense of humor, adventurous spirit and love for books – but once I got past those thematic earrings? We’d be sitting in the break room talking about Arrested Development every.blessed.lunchbreak.I am so, so lucky to share DNA with you. I want to be you when I grow up. Except for the Larson jawline. But you know how I feel about that. I love you.

Dear Dad,
I have so much respect for your love of nature and your commitment to family. I love that you’re so proud of us and all we’ve accomplished. I can’t thank you enough for teaching me the value of a dollar, showing me how to stack wood and change my oil and how to skin a squirrel – though I hope to never do the latter ever, ever again.
You’ve passed on a great last name, a love of travel and two crooked pinkies. I love you.

Dear Little Sister,

I have so much admiration for your determination to make it on your own. You take care of everyone around you, you give thoughtful gifts and you’ve got some of the best hair I’ve ever seen. You put up with all the dance recitals and plays that I forced you into and built fort after fort with me.I wish we lived in the same time zone, but it gives me comfort to know that you’re living life on your own terms someplace warm with someone you love. I love you.

You guys. Do it. Now! Gogogogo! Make that phone call/send that email/write that letter.

17 Comments

kathrynoh

Great post! Years ago my sister and I thought we took each other for granted so started being excessively grateful for things we did for each other. It was mighty cheesy but it really does feel good to be appreciated.

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La Historiadora de Moda

I love this idea! I lost my father to a sudden heart attack when I was 18, so I've been pretty good about expressing my love and affection for the people that I care about since then. I'm lucky that my dad and I were close, and I never had to regret or wonder, but it was a reminder to not take anyone for granted.

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kate

this is so wonderful. it is far too easy to take that unconditional love from family members for granted.

(i'm so glad to have found your blog!)

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Melanie

Love your blog and this idea! I know I don't show my love and appreciation for my family as much as I should, especially since I live 400 miles away (minumum) from each of them. I text and call my mom often, but I think she deserves a handwritten note, as does the rest of my family.

And the "Dear Dad" part of your post? I could've written that almost word for word. Eerie! Substitute "rabbit" for "squirrel," and "long second toes" for "crooked pinkies" and that's so us!

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Emily

My last name is Larson! I love this idea. My mom and I are close and she knows how much I appreciate her, but I should probably tell my dad more often. He's not someone who talks about feelings, ever, but I should tell him I love and appreciate him more often.

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Alli

I truly agree with this. I lost my mom almost two years ago when I was 18 to brain cancer. It can be especially frustrating for me when my friends get mad at their parents about trivial things. I still struggle with my dad (mostly as a result of our loss) but we are ever so slowly getting better. Thank you for sharing and I hope everyone takes your post to heart.

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Diana

Those are such sweet letters! When my boyfriend died a few years ago, my last words to him were "I love you" but his were "just go, I'm fine" (before going in for surgery). Shucks! I think there's some people in my life due some kind words!

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as told by kiki

awww..this is soooo sweet Sarah. 🙂 i lost my dad when i was only seven….i know how important family bond is. Thanks for sharing this great post. x

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mahantas

My family has never really been one that says the words I-Love-You. Everything my parents do to me radiates with it, everything I say to them says it loud and clear, our interactions are filled with it and it's passed around with dinner, but now that I think of it nobody says it out loud. And that it would sound, frankly, a little weird. Maybe because it would sound redundant!

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