A soldier knows when the inevitable is upon him. It’s usually the moment when he takes that first step onto a plane that will take him to fight an unseen foe in an unfriendly land. This is exactly what happened to my son who embarked on a six-month tour in Afghanistan a few years ago when he was with the Iowa Army National Guard. Before he left Des Moines, I was able to call and reassure him of my love. In fact, this is how we ended our conversation:
“Always remember son, I love you,” I said.
“I love you, too, Dad,” he said.
“Wait. I don’t think you heard me.”
I repeated myself more slowly:
The silence that followed seemed like eternity.
“Are you there?” I finally asked.
“Yes, Dad, I’m here. Thank you.”
My son choked back tears to say those final words. I told him if I were there, I would give him a long hug and salute him proudly as he boarded the plane. I know the sacrifice my son was making that day as I, also, served in the military. Neither one of us were sure we would see each other -- or even hear each other’s voice -- ever again.
Six months later, however, my son returned safely home. He told me how much he appreciated our last conversation before he left. He said he played it over and over in his mind whenever he felt lonely, troubled or afraid, and it comforted him.
The “love” talk with my son made me realize one thing: when you tell your children you love them, don't let your declaration of love sound like something you feel obligated to say. Let it come from deep inside you so your words can lodge deep within their soul.
Words spoken in the power of love speaks volumes and burns that fact in our mind and spirit. Thank you so much for sharing this. Too many people have never heard the words "I LOVE YOU" from their parents or anyone else. That is a precious statement and should be expressed more often.