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Share the Love, Show Your Gratitude

February 18, 2013

How often do you tell the people you care about that you love them? How often do you say thank you?

In a post I put up sometime late in 2012 I talked about gratitude. Another post focused on the developmental stages we each traverse as we live our lives. Today I want to link those two posts together and get you thinking about love and gratitude. 

Through all the stages of our lives we seek love. First from our parents, then from our extended family, on to our boyfriend/girlfriend,  our spouses/significant others, our children, and then our grandchildren. The desire for love is part of every developmental stage. When someone says “I love you!”, or shows us through their actions, we get a rush of joy that can brighten our lives despite any darkness we are dealing with.

There are many ways to show love: a touch, spoken words, a thoughtful gift, a special surprise;  but of all the ways I think the spoken word carries the most weight.  Some people are effusive in their declarations of love. Others are much more circumspect and save it for special occasions.

My challenge for you over the next few days is to make a point of speaking, and showing, your love to your aging parents. Call them on the phone and tell them you love them. Then follow up with memories that evoke that love in you. If you didn’t have an especially lovable childhood then find something, anything, to elicit a feeling of love. Wouldn’t it be sad to be facing the end of your life (even if that’s 20 or 30 years down the road) without an acknowledgment of love from those you raised from childhood?

Why am I making such a big deal about this?

It’s not because we celebrated Valentine’s Day just a few days ago, nor is it because I feel a lack of love in my own life. Rather, it comes from a discussion I had with a friend who’s wife is dying. My friend’s wife has had cancer for two years. The chemo didn’t work and it metastasized to her bones. Her family and friends expected her to go quickly once they were told of the metastases. That didn’t happen. She didn’t have pain and was living close to her normal routine. Except for some increased fatigue and decreased appetite she continued on as usual. 

When the diagnosis was first announced there were lots of visits and expressions of love. Memories were shared, plans were made regarding who would get the silver and who got the garnet rings. The family became a tight-knit cocoon filled with love, caring, sharing, and laughter. But six months after the diagnosis the visits had tapered off, phone calls were farther apart, and expressions of love weren’t as forthcoming. Two years after the diagnosis and it’s as if no one remembers that my friend’s wife has cancer and she’s dying. Family and friends went back to living their normal routines. Expressions of love weren’t a large part of that normal routine.

My questions is: why can’t the love, caring, sharing and laughter be a part of everyday life?

There’s no reason why all of those things can’t be part of every day. Say the words, show with actions, live a life filled with love and gratitude. It’s easy, just dig into your feelings and let those you love know you love them. Tell your children, your grandchildren, your parents, and your friends.  So many people espouse that love is what makes the world go round. Yet how often do we see it in action? Don’t wait fro someone else to instigate the expression of love. Incorporate it into your world every day!

Yes, love does make the world go round. Say it! Feel it! Show it!There can never be too much love!

That’s my challenge to you for the next few days and for the rest of your life. By expressing your love you are also exhibiting gratitude. The two go hand in hand. When it comes to “Starting the Dialogue” with your aging parents know that by expressing your love and gratitude you are meeting one of the top developmental needs of seniors. You are fulfilling the need they have for validation. Their lives are coming full circle and instead of them now caring for you the tables are turned and you are now taking care of them and their needs. Also remember that every person, no matter their developmental stage, seeks love and blossoms with the expression of it.

In talking with my friend I suggested that he remind his children that their mother is still dying. She needs their love to be spoken and displayed. She needs it now and ongoing, whether she lives another ten years or dies tomorrow. My friend also needs that love from his children.His children need that love from their parents. It’s a circle.

Tale me up on the challenge. Express your love and gratitude. If you’re comfortable with it let me know what changed in your life or the lives of the people you love. Share with us the success, or failure, this challenge brought into your life. That’s what the comment section is for. Thanks for sharing with me.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2013 12:54 pm

    From the day we are born, we are dying. Every day and every human being is precious for that reason. I’m glad I realized that fact early enough so that, in my parents’ last years, I made sure how much I appreciated everything they did for me and for our family. I never ended a conversation with either my mom or my dad without saying I loved them. The last thing each of them said to me in this world was that they loved me; I knew it, but it was good to hear it, and a wonderful last memory.

    • February 21, 2013 11:14 am

      It’s amazing to me that more people don’t realize that. Life is a gift and so precious for whatever number of days or years we live it. The greatest joy is to make the best of every day regardless of the circumstances. Thank you for your comment!

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