Having the Courage to Tell Someone

by | Jun 4, 1999 | Courage, Witnessing

It was midday when I got the call that my grandfather was not well and his condition was rapidly getting worse. My family did not know how long he had left. People had been visiting him throughout the day and basically saying goodbye.

I knew I had to get to the hospital to tell him how much I loved him. Who knew how long he had left? As I drove to the hospital, I pictured him passing on before I got to tell him how much he meant to me. Struggling to fight back the tears, I wanted to maintain my composure for when I saw him.

When I got to the hospital, I hurriedly searched for his hospital room. Once the nurse left the room, I walked to my grandfather’s bed. I found him in a semi-conscious state, hooked up to all sorts of machines and tubes going in and out of him. Kneeling down to his level, I quietly whispered, “Hello Grandpa”.

He stirred, wincing in obvious pain yet masking it the best he could, he turned toward me with a smile on his face. The more I thought about the situation, the more I realized this could be the last time I might ever see him. I knew I had to tell him how special he was to me yet I was feeling cowardly.

Still feeling shy, I committed in my mind to not leaving his bedside without letting him know. I pulled up a chair and began talking to him. While I asked about his condition, he told me, “He’d be fine,” although we both knew that wasn’t true. Just as soon as I wanted to ask him more about his condition, he would turn and smile and ask me how I was doing.

While I was felt special that my grandpa wanted to know how I was doing, I knew I wasn’t there just to give him an update as to how I was. I was a man on a mission. Finally, I went inside and made the decision that I had to show my gratitude for him. As I summoned all the courage I had, I clutched his hand. From the expression on my face, he knew I had something important to say.

Drawing nearer to him, I said, “Grandpa. I have to tell you something.” By this time, the tears were streaming down my face, pouring out rivers of the loving emotion that I had always felt for him. It was not a trickle of tears; it was as if the dam had broken. All those years of love that I had pent up and not let him know, had become free.

I took a deep breath and tried to regain my composure. In doing this, my grandfather’s and my eyes locked. You know what they say about the eyes being the window of the soul? Well, it’s as if our eyes in that one moment more than ever spoke more than was ever possible. Through my sniffles, I burst out, “Grandpa. I just want to let you know how much I love you. I hoped you already know that yet I just wanted to make sure.”

Smiling broadly, he said, “I know. Thank you for telling me that.” He further elaborated, “All I have on this planet is my family and my love for them. If there is anything I could ask of you, I want you to be good to your family: your mother, your father, and your brother. That’s all I want of you.” Nodding and assuring him that I promised that I would forever onward, we both turned to notice the nurse coming in the room.

She told me that the visitation period had ended and that she needed to do some tests on my grandpa. Squeezing his hand tight, I gave him a warm hug as all the love I had ever felt for him came flooding through my body. I knew that this very well could be the last time I ever saw him. I walked out of his room and stopped. I had to look at him one last time. I turned and saw him smile and wave. He was still my grandpa, still smiling, and still happy despite the grave situation. That image is forever etched into my memory.

What I learned that day transformed my entire life. From then on, I began telling people how much I loved them, cared for them, and respected them. I wrote glowing, unsolicited testimonials for people I came in contact with (e.g., my hairdresser, my banker, my aerobics instructor) to show my appreciation. I wake up every morning and list everything I’m grateful for in my life. I created an “attitude of gratitude” night where I go down into the city once a week and serve pizza to the homeless. One never knows how long someone else will be in your life.

Kent Sayre copyright 2001 kent@unstoppable-confidence.com

Kent Sayre is the author of “Unstoppable Confidence: Unleash Your Natural Confidence Within”. In the book, he shows you specific, immediately applicable techniques to increase your inner strength, improve your confidence, and go after your dreams. He is single and lives in Portland, Oregon. His website is: http://www.unstoppable-confidence.com


Having the Courage to Tell Someone