When a stranger says “I Love You”

I was leaving a patients house a few months ago (I’m an Occupational Therapist working in Home Care) and yelled to the patient’s husband:  “Bye, husband”.  I couldn’t remember his name.  He yelled: “Bye, I love you!”  I was a little shocked, but in a good way.  How could my day get any better than when a stranger tells me he loves me, and within ear shot of his wife?  His wife, my patient, and I laughed, and both commented on how funny he was.

A short time before that, I was leaving another patients home for the last time when she hugged me and told me she loved me.  I loved her back.  She was one of those people who was easy to be around, and seemed to take her somewhat grave situation in stride.  She and I happen to share the same oncologist.    We had “Doctor” stories.

Yesterday, I was discharging another patient who I really connected with.  She was 90 years old, funny, spiritual, and accepting of her situation, and seemed to be happy with the way she lived her life.  When I was saying my final good-byes, she told me she loved me.  I loved her back.

A few weeks ago, a bunch of us were out having a good time.  We were seated near a woman who I came to know as Andrea, who had her tiny service dog with her.  He was wearing his “work” vest.  Before the music started, she allowed me to feed “Jerry” some leftovers, which he loved.  The live band started to play and the general concern from our group, and I’m sure people around us, was how assaultive the noise must be to this little angel.  I had hoped that Jerry was deaf.  He was old.   Andrea was staying at a local hotel, and after a while, she said she needed a ride, and was going to call a cab.  She was tipsy and tiny herself, so I offered to give her a ride.   (a friend rode with us just in case…)  In the parking lot at the hotel, Andrea hugged me and told me she loved me.  I’m sure it was partially the drink talking, but it touched me just the same.   I loved her back.

In our society, those three words are usually saved for families and for people who are romantically in love.  But love goes way beyond that.   As my brother’s friend was dying last year, he told my brother to tell me that he loved me.  I already knew this.  Perfect love (love itself is always perfect) need not be verbalized.  And when it is, it’s usually not a surprise.  It’s just surprising when someone you barely know says those three words, but often, deep down, you share the same emotion and about them.

I recently had a plumbing issue at my house.  When Gus the plumber was finished, I told him that I loved him in a fun tone.  I wanted him to know that I really appreciated his service and honesty.  He bent over laughing, but I think (I hope) I made his day.  He helped me, and did it in such a sincere and skilled way, that yes, I loved him for it.

As I’m writing this, I realize that it’s February, the month that Love is celebrated.  Since love goes way beyond romantic situations, and can mean endearment, fondness, warmth, adoration, loyalty, etc., and it can be with friends, family, or complete strangers, we have an opportunity and a special invitation to spread the goodness that lives in all of us.

I love you all!


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8 Responses to When a stranger says “I Love You”

  1. Diane Cross says:

    You are so right. Love’s meaning is so vast, and yet one never tires of hearing it, or being appreciated for who we are, the effort we’ve put forth, or the time we’ve extended. It’s the small, fleeting moments that help us to sustain the true meaning and joys of life.

  2. Glynny Schiavoni says:

    I love you back, my sweet, courageous, beautiful girl!

  3. Madeline Sicko says:

    And let’s not forget the love of chocolate, my dear sweet artistic and lovable friend. Hugs

  4. Maria wulf says:

    I love you Diane!

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