Tell your Friends you love them

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The other day, a very good friend of mine, sent me an email titled ‘Remember this?’

The email was from the summer of 2007 and my friend who was a soldier at the time, was readying himself for his first call of duty and was within days of being shipped out to the front line in Afghanistan.

I can’t begin to understand what he was going through, but I knew he was afraid. Afraid he wouldn’t come back.

My friend wasn’t what I would call a typical soldier; he wasn’t the killing type, he was more of a fun-loving type of person and a bit sensitive to boot.

I think it was the draw of seeing the world rather than combat that had influenced his decision to join the army a year prior.

Anyway, a few weeks before he was due to start his call of duty, he sent all of us (his close friends) this email:


This is the email that Kay sent me. After I read it, I wanted to write a paragraph about each of you and the things I love about you and when you get this, maybe you could all do the same for everyone else?  I’ve always been known as being a bit gooey, that’s because it’s true. I’ve never been afraid to tell people that I love them, that I think they’re beautiful, or that I’d just love to get them sweaty.  But, here it is… if you can’t tell people the truth, don’t tell them anything, and if you can’t tell them how important they are to you, or that you’d cry without the promise of ever being in their presence again, then you’re like 90% of everyone else!   But you guys are different.  When I leave you it’s usually for long periods of time, and I go to far away places. Maybe I am just the dude that comes round every now and then, uses the bath (it’s a great bath!), and picks you up some milk, but as you know; I don’t really have a home.  The one place I feel most at home is with you guys.  You all mean a lot to me. You are the fine people of my heart. I want you to know this: for every second I have spent in your house, in your company, or in your mind, you have spent 10 in mine.  Coming home would mean little to me if I couldn’t see you.. it really really wouldn’t. So, here is the email Kay sent me:

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.  It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers. That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. “Really?” she heard whispered. “I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!” and, “I didn’t know others liked me so much.” were most of the comments.  No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on. Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and the teacher attended the funeral.

She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her.

“Were you Mark’s math teacher?” he asked.

She nodded: “yes.”

 “Mark talked about you a lot.” he said

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

“We want to show you something,” his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket.

“They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.”

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times.

The papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.

“Thank you so much for doing that,” Mark’s mother said. “As you can see, Mark treasured it.”

All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said,

“I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.”

Chuck’s wife said, “Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album..”

“I have mine too,” Marilyn said “It’s in my diary.”

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group “I carry this with me at all times” and without batting an eyelash, she continued: “I think we all saved our lists.”


My friend then went on to list all of the qualities he admired in each and every one of us and we in turn replied with what we loved about him and what we loved about all of our other friends who were on the list too (I won’t disclose what everyone said, this article is in danger of being way too corny as it is).

Anyway, the email went around for several weeks (this was before the time of social media).

What we said to each other will be forever remembered and proof of this came for me the other day when I received the email titled Remember this?

So tell the people you love and care about how special and important they are to you, not just family, but dear friends too (‘I really love you man!’ after 10 pints doesn’t count). Tell them today and keep telling them…


My friend came back from his call of duty in one piece and shortly after he returned home, he quit the armed forces for good.

He now spends his time working half the year and travelling half the year without involving himself in any wars :)

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