Those Three Little Words

Remembering to say “I love you” can make all the difference in the world.

Walking into our bedroom, I found my husband, Barry, looking forlorn, sitting on the edge of the bed. I sat down beside him, put my arm around his shoulders and quietly said “I love you.” He turned and said “I’m so glad you said that.” It was then I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I had told him that I loved him.

I was so wrapped up in looking after him for the past few years, taking him to medical appointments, making sure I had all his medication with me, as well as a sandwich in case we had to be in the waiting room over lunchtime—which was often. We always got there before 10:30 a.m. for an 11 a.m. appointment to find the waiting room full of patients with appointments for much earlier than ours. Luckily, some kind person would usually give Barry a seat. As soon as noon arrived, I would get out his lunch and a small bottle of water. His pills had to be taken at specific times with food. Eating a sandwich in a crowded waiting room and taking medication while squashed between two other patients, was embarrassing and uncomfortable.

Towards the end, there were nights we had to call the ambulance to take him to the hospital where he would be kept for observation and then released the next day with new medication. Barry, who had always been in charge of things, now had no control over his life.

We had a wheelchair lifter put in the back of our van because it was difficult for me to get the chair in and out. I never really got the hang of it and it would be tossed around in the back as we drove. I remember one time we had the last medical appointment of the day and it was cold, dark and raining. The other cars were all leaving and I was having difficulty hooking the heavy wheelchair onto the lifter to get it in the back of the van. I just didn’t have the strength but then an angel appeared out of the darkness and immediately took hold of the chair saying “Here, let me help you.” This kind lady made sure the wheelchair was secured and asked if there was anything else she could do to help. I had been trying for about ten minutes and any cars still parked when we had come out had slowly driven by and left. All I could do was keep thanking this wonderful lady—it didn’t seem enough.

It has been over a year now since my dear Barry died. It was a good time for him to leave us and not have to suffer through this pandemic. I think of him every day and I am thankful for the 59 years and three wonderful children we had together. I am also so thankful that he l knew I loved him because I was able to tell him, even at the end.

Next, read one woman’s reflections on a lifelong romance.

Originally Published in Our Canada