Three words, eight letters

Virginia Russell, Opinion Writer

Words matter. If you had one chance to tell a loved one something for the last time, what would you say?

Rainbow sticky notes from best friends sit peeling in a kindergarten t-shirts slapped with tiny handprints are shoved away in a musty drawer. Wedding pearls, macaroni necklaces and family recipes stay packed away in boxes throughout the house. All mementos of love that have been placed politely aside over time.

In another house, there are train tracks and bad drawings littered with broken crayons and an outrageously expensive race car toddler bed frozen in time. There are toys that will never be played with again and parents who will never be able to hear their child’s laughter again.

Whether it’s by choice or not, the love that we hold can become dormant. It can sit too long and we start to forget that it exists or we might try to pretend itnever existed in the first place.

Maybe a new job came up and then another and a couple more, and before you know it, you’re the CEO and Christmas concertsand family dinners are too stuffy and the flight’s not worth it.

Sometimes we tell ourselves that love isn’t important because there are better, more meaningful things to focus on instead. Late night practices and perfect grades start to fill up the space that used to be reserved for long afternoon walks and family game night. Nothing seems less fun than spending “useless” time that could be spent on actual meaningful things. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves, but if we only stopped for a second and took a breath, our mindset might change. You could wake up one day and realize that you can’t remember what a snow cone tastes like or the feeling of waking up from a Sunday nap. All things that you used to love.

The truth is, we don’t know how many days we get to spend living. It could be many or it could be few, but no matter the amount, we canalways fill them with things thatbrought and should still bring us joy. Winning back that love of people and things is possible, but it takeseffort. Gratitude and happiness certainly play a big role. But there’s one step that must be done before all of this. It can be one of the easiest or hardest things. It’s for you to decide.

In that other house, where time stands still and a child’s bed remains without distruption for fear of losing some memory of them, the inhabitants beg for another chance to see their child again. Don’t take life for granted. See wonderous beauty in the small moments and times. Take it slow and realize what truly matters.

Three words. Eight letters. I love you.