“It is such a simple thing to say yet it carries so much weight, whether it is with a spouse while you both read your books or it’s with a friend who has been with you through thick and thin or it is to a family member who has loved you from the start.
Those words, that thought, the action of saying it to them with purpose and truth can mean the world to them. Because after all, they mean enough for you to say “Thank you for loving me.”- T.B. LaBerge
Today marks 11 years since I said “I do.” to a man that would change the whole trajectory of my life, heart and soul. A man that in his 22 years of life has inspired me to try and do a small fraction of the good he spread.
On past anniversaries I’ve done a sea of random acts of kindness for a slew of strangers (you can check them our here and here ) as a way to spread the love he showed so many, but I awoke this morning struggling. Though I have enjoyed spending a whole day spreading joy to my fellow life journeyers, my heart felt as if there was something more important for me to fulfill this year…and after thinking back to something that a person I love so dearly shared (thank you, moochie), I knew what it was…
Instead of a day of random acts of kindness to strangers, I would spend a day of intentional acts of love and gratitude to those who have been there through it all….my family….specifically my 3 sisters and parents.
I tell my family I love them all the time….sometimes a little too much…because the truth is, after Michael was killed, I didn’t tell them “I love you” for nearly 3 years. Why? Because after experiencing the pain of losing someone I loved, I convinced myself that not saying it to them would save me from feeling that kind of pain again….it didn’t work and was a total #lifefail…don’t do it 😉
So what would I do to let them know how much they truly rock my heart?
Easy….think back to one of my lifetime wishes as a child, mix it with some wisdom learned along my life path, add in some extra sappiness and turn it into reality! Boom!
First, I typed up letters for each sister and my parents….not just telling them I loved them and appreciated them….but literally listing out every little thing from childhood and on that I maybe never told them but would want them to know in case today was my last day to live….Michael left no loose ends in his short life and everyone around him knew how much they meant….so yeah, my sisters were going to know how much I loved their love for “Ace of Base”, their drawing talents and intelligence, and that time we jumped off the stairs into a pile of pillows…..it meant my parents were going to know that every tuck into the bed and selfless sacrifice was noted and appreciated…….it meant I possibly cried my eyes out……it meant that they were probably going to hear more than they asked for and then some…. it meant it was perfect!
After the letters were typed I entered into the childhood dream part! Ok….this might sound weird but at the age of 9 I started opening up and sending in the Publisher’s Clearing House letters my parents received! (Hey….a kid can dream)
I was so convinced that we were going to win that I would sit by the front window for hours and months on end…waiting for that darn van to pull up and have someone jump out with the balloons, champagne, roses and a giant check! (See Photo…)
I could get all the items for this day but the check…which I replaced with something I think is far better than money….love.
I picked up the goods and the sweet lady getting the balloons and roses asked me if I was doing employee appreciation gifts….I told her the whole plan and she shared with me that she had lost her daughter 11 years ago to leukemia and it made her happy to see good coming out of sad….i have a feeling we were supposed to meet. Thank you, Christina.
After checking out I recreated a scene from “Up” in the parking lot and maybe got a little excited….
Then it was off to Lindsey’s house.
When I got there I hit my first snag….15 balloon ribbons all tangled up….sweet baby jesus…i just ripped them off….back to the surprise knock on the door! How did PCH do this so many years 🤔
Lindsey is my second youngest sister and would be the first victim of love (that’s a good song title…just puttin’ it out there ;D ).
She thought I was dropping off some AWP stuff for her to work on….no sir-ee-bob!
The knock came and the love check/letter was handed over…
She did not see it coming!
…And her and her wonderful husband thought they were surprising me (and did), because when I came in they had champagne waiting too , to do a toast for today. They’re amazing.
Next up, my youngest sister, Sammi…the one whose life I missed out on so much while going through the darkest parts of my grief in the first few years after Michael’s death. The one I had a few more important things to share.
She thought I was dropping off cookies I baked (which should have been the first clue of a surprise to come since I’m not a baker).
As I drove over the perfect song came on…
When I got to Sam’s house she was out in the front yard….just like in the PCH commercials….
Ok…maybe she didn’t faint, but I think it was a surprise and it was one of the letters I had the hardest time writing aka I cried a lot and hoped she felt the love.
Off to my last sister’s house. Kenzi was prepping the house for Christmas eve and answered the door in shock…being the oldest sister we always knocked heads….but I let her know just how amazing she truly is to me.
Her smile and my other sister’s smiles made my year…I love them so much and am very lucky to have them love me back.
Last but not least were my parents, who were out at dinner but came home to this little setup:
All in all….it was the perfect day.
I’m guilty of going through life supporting and helping and sharing love with people I barely know (if i know them at all)…and it has brought me so much happiness, healing and joy… but I did so just telling the people I love the most “I love you.” without ever really letting them know in all the ways, and without sharing the memories that have had the deepest imprint on my heart….
I’ve done it….and I never will fear that they didn’t know… nor will there be a second where I think “I wish I would have told them…..” and that is the greatest act of intentional kindness that I know how to give…and that is love…and that is family….and that is eternal.