Have I Told You Lately that I Love You?

Some anniversaries are happy, like wedding anniversaries (27 in December) and homeowner anniversaries (23 and paid for).

Some anniversaries are not so happy, like those that mark the time since loved ones have passed away. This month my family marks two such anniversaries. On August 1, 2010, my sister-in-law Kay died unexpectedly of a triple brain aneurysm while we were away on a mission trip to Mexico. Three weeks later, on August 21, my sister Cindy died from complications involving a toxic interaction of long-term prescribed medications.

Today my baby sister, Tina, sent me a song message. When I opened her voice mail, I heard a classic love song by Rod Stewart.  It asked a question that we should all consider from time to time, "Have I Told You Lately that I Love You?" Based on Stewart's other musical offerings, it's safe to say that he has a very skewed understanding of what true love is, but he asks a great question.

We were 3,000 miles away from home last summer when we received word that Kay had died. Immediately my husband's thoughts returned to his last conversation with his sister three days before we left for Mexico. Extremely busy with last minute trip preparations, he heard her voice over the answering machine. Tempted not to pick up the phone because of the press of the To Do List, he instead let his heart rule over his head. He talked with Kay for a few minutes. Ever the big sister, she told him she was proud of him for the way he was preparing to lead our team to minister in Mexico.

"I love you brother, " she concluded. 

"I love you too," he said as he ended the conversation.

Those were the last words they would exchange on this side of eternity.

My sister's death was very different. Experiencing a toxic interaction between several prescribed medications, Cindy went into respiratory arrest one night. By the time she reached the hospital, all her body systems were failing.

Cindy stayed in a coma on a respirator for over three weeks while we wondered, and hoped, and prayed. Then one day, she opened her eyes. A few days later her kidneys began to function, and she was weaned from the respirator. Uncertain of how much brain damage she had suffered, we continued to talk, sing, and joke with her. Mostly she stared, eyes unfocused, while we wondered if the Cindy we knew was still in there somewhere.

I visited one day during those uncertain times. As I greeted her, I leaned close to press my cheek against her forehead. Surprisingly, her arm came up in an awkward embrace, and she haltingly spoke the words I never thought I would hear from her lips again, "Ahh wuv oooo."

"Ah wuv oooo, too," I blubbered back. Cindy was usually the one to say "I love you" first. Though we lived in two very different worlds, we shared the common bond of a sister's love that transcended our differences.

Although Cindy began to deteriorate rapidly after that wonderful day, I realized that God had heard our prayers. We asked God to heal Cindy.  He gave her back to us for those brief days in order that we might tell her, one more time, that we loved her, and to hear her say it too.  We ended each visit the same way, even the last night I saw her.  By then she was unable to respond, but I said it anyway.

"Ah wuv oooo, Cindy Lou."

Have I told you lately that I love you?

If you need to say it to someone, don't wait another minute.

 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."  (John 15:12)

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.  (1 John 4:12)

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  1. This is a wonderful and touching post, Lori. God is so good.

  2. Thank you, Lori, for sharing this touching story of your sister-in-law and sister. Victory although the world would say otherwise.