I Love You

One of the most difficult sentences to say in any language is “I love you.” Well, at least it was for me, not that I have not uttered it before. This however was different. It took me a long time and a lot of self-convincing to prep myself to utter those three words. Should I or should I not? Would it be embarrassing for the both of us? Those questions swirled around in my mind for a long time.

Dragging up those affections from the deepest recesses of my heart was easy. The toughest part was opening my lips and prying it out of the tip of my tongue. There was never an open show of affection in my family. It was among that culture which I grew up in that greatly influenced my interactions with other people. In many ways, it was easier to repress my emotions than to express it. That was how I was brought up.

One evening, maybe twenty year ago, I am not sure anymore, it has been such a long time; I was in the living room. I cannot even remember what I was doing there. Maybe I was watching the sixteen inch television. Or perhaps I was playing games on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum+ that was connected to the same television that doubled up as the monitor. What I was doing that evening does not matter. What is important was I picked up the courage to say what I had wanted to say for a long time.

“I love you.”

A chill ran down my spine as those words left my lips.


“Because you are my father.”

“Thank you for everything.”

“There is no need to thank me.”

Not a word was exchanged after that. I loved him not only because he was my father. There was so much more that I wanted to say to him, so much gratitude that I wanted to express. I was just too overwhelmed by the emotion of the moment. I felt like a child who had suddenly grown up, who was bold enough to speak out what was in my mind, and heart.

Thinking back now, I am glad I did what I did. Although it was an awkward moment for the both of us, having said what I had wanted to say to my father for a long time brought a sense of accomplishment and relieve. Indeed, those three words were the most difficult to say to one of the few people who mattered most to me. But I am glad I did. I love you Dad!

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

6 thoughts on “I Love You”

  1. It is a strangely difficult thing to say, but it is so important to do so 🙂

    Nice to see you again the other day!

    Nice to see you again too.

  2. especially for men, they have really big ego to say that word especially to parents or the siblings.
    It is not that we are not loving them, but we actually scared of what are their respond would be right?
    But, better try than not. hehe.

    and yeah, congrats to you for having courage to say that word already.


  3. That was beautiful Pete. No, that wasn’t a tear…I just had something caught in the eye. ;P


  4. That is really beautiful. Really it is 🙂
    but i can’t help wondering how awkward it must have been for your dad lol.

    It was awkward to both of us.

  5. My dad was the disciplinarian in the household.He had a fiery temper and very difficult to relate to.I found it exceedingly difficult to be close to him and I resolved early on,to leave home as soon as i could and live independently.
    However, after I “flew the proverbial coop”, settled down and had a child, i found myself grappling with the stress of living and the demands,trials ,missteps and tribulations of a growing child.I found myself, with deep reflection, sinking into the same mould as my father.
    I began to understand the “cross” he had to bear, sending his children overseas for education, ensuring the bills were paid,food on the table and providing a roof over our heads.
    When he came down with cancer just a year after he retired (something i still have an issue with God), i was overcome with grief as i saw him literally wasting away before my eyes.This was the man who had big dreams for his retirement that he had confided in me.
    This was a man who was brought up in the old school of how to bring up kids i.e to be seen but not heard, but he had accomplished what he set out to do and that was to provide and protect and accomplished it with excellence.
    My biggest regret in life was not being able to repay his kindness,to have been able to give him a good life in retirement now that I could provide.As I finally plucked up enough courage to say “I love you” to him as i kissed him on the forehead after he passed on.
    I just wished i had said it when he was still alive.

    Thanks for sharing the poignant account. This is a story every son and daughter should read.

  6. Your father will remember these words as the most significant ones you have ever said in your life. Trust me, I am a father and a son, too.


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