A friend shared and excerpt from her grandfather's journal, which emphasizes the need to express the love you feel for others. As a young man he had a strong desire to leave his native Norway and come to America. He recorded,
In the fall of 1922, four other boys in the neighborhood and I decided to go to America. It took several months to get our papers ready.
In January 1923, we were ready to leave home. On the morning I was to leave, my mother came upstairs at 4 am to wake me up. As I lay there, she knelt by my bed and put her arm around me with her cheek against my cheek, and told me how she loved me and how she would miss me. She told me to be a good boy. She felt that she would not see me again in this life.
I had been taught never to cry or show emotion, but at that moment I wanted to put my arms around her. Unfortunately, I let them lie still by my side under the covers. I didn't say or do anything, because I was a man. How could I be so soft to put my arms around my mother, or maybe cry and tell her how I loved her? I couldn't do that. It wasn't manly. How I have regretted that moment all these years?
I got up, and she walked me 2 miles in the knee-deep snow to the bus stop. She helped me carry my suitcase. When I got on the bus, I shook hands with my mother and said goodbye. Now for 52 years I have regretted all this.
Thirty-eight years after I came over to this country, I had a chance to go back to Norway for a visit. My mother had died eighteen years before. The first thing I did the first day I was there was to go to the graveyard. I didn't know where the graves were located. I searched up and down the rows till I finally came to the graves of my mother and father. I stood there and looked at them for a minute, and all my past days were going through my mind, especially the last day I saw my mother.
I knelt down and put my arms around the marker. I put my cheek against her name, and those tears that I should have shed 38 years earlier were shed there. I was not such a big man after all..."
How unfortunate that this young man had been taught to "never cry or show emotion." I wonder who taught him that it "wasn't manly to show emotion?" Obviously it was not from his mother. I can just imagine this man with his arms around the tombstone expressing the love he had for his mother. We can learn a valuable lesson from this story. We should not be ashamed to show appropriate physical affection to those we love. We should always express love at partings.
We never know when it will be the last time to see someone. Thomas S. Monson gave this counsel: “Avoid the tendency to postpone a prompting or an opportunity to grow and to serve. Procrastination is truly a thief of time. Meet the daily challenges of your lives. How long has it been since you looked into the eyes of your mother and, holding nothing back, spoke those welcome words, “Mother, I truly love you”? How about Father, who daily toils to provide for you? Fathers appreciate hearing those same precious words from the lips of a child, “I love you.” (Ensign, May 1999, 98.)
Available From Amazon and Barnes and Noble