I lo— (you).

Recently orphaned at the age of 62, I’ve been thinking a lot about my family. We’ve had our ups and downs but I mostly throw that out there so I don’t seem too privileged because in fact its been pretty much all Ups. With an exception that I’m intentionally vague about, we have enjoyed togetherness and happiness and fun, only once in a while hitting the heartaches of being human like potholes on the road to a cottage. You wince for a bit but good times lay ahead.

I adore my brother and sister, and my mom and dad. But until the last few years, we didn’t really hug and rarely said ‘I love you’. It’s just not in the vernacular of our Anglo-Saxon stock in part, I guess, because it might lead to somebody getting a day off from upper-lip stiffening. But we weren’t remote. Far from it. We bonded in every human way short of offering each other any kind of play-by-play while it was happening in real time. We simply, quietly, loved each other. Like happy mutes.

It’s a bit different in the family I’ve built. A partner I love and admire, a son I’m so proud of, and one close friend that is more like an extension of me than a sibling. But it’s still not second nature to me yet. I had a couple of previous tries at matrimony that weren’t eternally successful but had their own span of joy, limited mostly because I’m far from perfect. But fate has gifted me an angel who has decided that I might not yet be a basket case. So I’m working on it. I’m open to adding the I-Love-You into the mix. I just can’t seem to get the timing right.

When my mom would sign off from phone calls, we’d bat a couple of variations on goodbye back and forth, and then one of use would try to toss in “I love you” while the other was hitting END. I heard and said my fair share of I Lo—‘s over the past couple of years. It’s an odd sensation, and early on one of us would call the other back and literally say, “I just called to say I Love You” which sounded like a corny lyric because it was one.

So maybe I’ll leave it at that. I Lo—.

I Lo— all of these people in my life. I hope they know it, even though it may not be often said. And when the good times stop rolling, maybe we’ll be able to get the whole phrase out if we can catch our breath from life and laughter, when the actual ending is upon us. Then we can maybe say the whole darn thing. Because in that final moment, we may not be able to call back.