Have We Said Enough?

Valentine’s Day, 2010, was ten days before Lisa died.  Although it’s been five years, cupid brings back vivid, vivid memories.

In many ways, it is my hardest grief day of the year.  The reminder that it is coming is blasted everywhere I turn:  on TV, in the grocery store, billboards – even Jiffy Lube has an oil change coupon special for your sweetheart!

The last dinner my girls and I ate with Lisa was on Valentine’s Day.  Of course we didn’t know that would be the case, but deep down, maybe we had a hunch.

It was an odd evening.  Lisa and I were trying so hard to be happy for three excited kids.

Yeah, yeah, it’s Valentine’s Day!  Candy, candy!  Love in the air.  Ignore the fact that your beloved mother in the seat beside you is hooked up to a morphine drip and dying from cancer.

As difficult as it is to face this annual reminder, February 14, 2010, ended up bringing me the greatest gift I ever received.  It gave me what I needed to take the steps  to put my life back together.

It was this day that prompted Lisa to write me a note.  Although I knew my wife loved me, she was not one to gush.  But this note encapsulated her feelings about me.  The last sentence she wrote was:

You are the husband, father, soul mate and friend that I want – never been another.  I love you very much.  Lisa

If I died tomorrow, I wonder if the people around me would know how I feel about them.

I have a buddy, Steve, who occasionally texts with the message, “I love you.”  When I see him, he says the same.

Another dear friend, Brad, and I hug and share the same sentiment.  His wife occasionally rolls her eyes at our mushiness.

I pick on people who mean a lot to me – just ask those in the offices next to mine at the YMCA.  Do my co-workers understand how much they mean to me?  I spend more time with them than any other friends and often more time than I spend with my family.  Do those at church know how much I look forward to seeing them each week?  Can the girls see my love through the nagging?

I’d like there to be no question in the minds of those who mean the most to me.

I’m not sure why it is sometimes so hard to express love.  It makes us squirmy and uncomfortable.  I’ve been the recipient of unfettered expression.  Lisa and I were given that chance.  Had she died in an automobile accident, that would not have been the case.

I have lived the past five years with a lack of guilt or regret about my relationship with my wife.  She let me know I was what she needed.  And yet, at times I still struggle with sharing how much I appreciate and care for others.  If it is tough for me, I imagine it might be even harder for those who have not experienced the joy of knowing that someone you loved so much loved you so much in return.

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  1. Wayne Campbell

     /  February 18, 2015

    WOW, so very well written!

  2. I love this post. Some people are hesitant to express their emotions in fear of being chastised but I find it so important to constantly remind the people who matter how we feel about them. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Well I’m officially crying at an airport bar thanks to this post! I can’t even imagine something this tragic and I find life so bizarre because the people who have experience loss to this degree hold the knowledge of what life is really about. You can try as hard as you can to convey this to the rest of us, and we might think we understand what a precious gift life is, but we will never see life with such clarity as one like yourself most likely does. In a way I’m kind of jealous because I don’t want to finally get it when I’m 90 and too late to live it. Anyway, thanks for sharing and I wish you the absolute best. Thanks for the much needed reminder

    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 20, 2015

      Don’t cry at the airport bar. Just drink there. And tell the people you’re with that you love them!

  4. I try to remember to say “I love you” as often as I can, even when it’s uncomfortable because life is so short. Beautiful post today.

  5. Linda Smith

     /  February 18, 2015

    Dear Bruce, even though we do not see you very often I just wanted you to know we love you very much. I wanted you to know this because we are getting so old and one day we will be gone and it means a lot to us for you to know you are loved and prayed for every day.

  6. Pam D.

     /  February 19, 2015

    I didn’t plan on crying this morning. I’m not sure if realize what an impact your blog has and how helpful it is to many. I know I mentioned this before, but my husband passed away almost four years ago. The hardest part I find sometimes is that he’s missing our children’s milestones. When they moved into their college dorms, those were difficult days…happy, sad, mad all rolled into one day. I try to be there for them in the happy, sad, anxious, mad, worried times that they encounter each week. Constants in my life are what I depend on … my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and my close friends. Yes, I do try to show others around me how much I care for them. Life is too short. Keep posting. You have a gift.
    ~So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16

    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 20, 2015

      If we could just remember that God love thing when the bad crap hits we’d be so much better off.

  7. Can’t tell you how much your experience parallels mine. Adam was diagnosed on February 17, 2012, so there was little joy around the house that Valentine’s Day. He gave me an expensive watch. He never did that. He hated so-called “Hallmark holidays” and grudgingly acknowledged them sparingly. It was a bad sign that I got a watch. Just a few weeks before, the headaches had started and he wanted to get out of town. I got the same talk–about soulmates and such. I was so scared while he was sick that I don’t even know if I took the opportunity to gush. I think my actions showed my feelings but honestly I remember so little of that time that I couldn’t say. I do know that now, after going through his illness and being supported by so many wonderful friends and family members, I hug people, which I never did before, and I do tell them how much I love them.

  8. Maffitt

     /  February 20, 2015

    This was such a beautifully written post . Well …. one among many actually. My husband, my love , died last summer and this was my first Valentine Day without him..probably the hardest of all the “holidays”!! Thank you for your perspective on expressing to those we love…you are soooo right! Frances M Sent from my iPhone


    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 20, 2015

      I sincerely dislike Valentines Day for so very, very many reasons.

  9. I really enjoyed this post. I remember having a life-changing presentation given at my middle school when I was younger about how you never know when it might be the last time you see someone, so make sure to tell those important to you that they are appreciated. Every night before I go to bed, I make sure to say, “I love you” to my parents and brother. It’s always a nice thing to hear the words, “I love you, too” in return. It’s so important to tell the people you care about that they are loved and know that you are loved as well. This should be a custom that should happen at least once a day; it could be a simple smile, a nice note, or sincere verbally spoken words. Thank you for this great post.

  10. I’ve just joined the wordpressworld and this particular post made me cry like a baby. Thank you for the beautifully written post. I am sure Lisa is very much proud of all that you’ve done/accomplished so far and grateful for the life she has shared with you.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  May 4, 2015

      Don’t mean to make tears but sometimes it just happens.

  11. Meghan

     /  May 20, 2015

    I’m going through your posts, and yes, I’m crying, too, like some of the other readers. I remember how much I admired LIsa’s strength and confidence. Reading your words, I instantly think on how often am I telling my husband how much I love him and how grateful I am for the friend and partner he is. We both tell our son we love him, we’re gaga over him. But don’t always tell each other, and it’s hard to imagine not having him. I haven’t seen you all in 20 years (which is hard to fathom, I remember everyone at the Y like yesterday), and I regret not staying in touch. But I remember clearly how much I admired you and Lisa, because you had a respect and love that was visible, palpable, to everyone around you.

    I agree with other comments that you have a gift. Thank you so much for sharing.


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