DEAR ABBY: Over the years you have printed many letters about the importance of telling the people you care about that you love them.
About four years ago, I took heed. When talking to my dad, with whom I was very close, I closed with, "I love you, Daddy." He seemed surprised, and then responded, "I love you, too, honey." From then on, every time I ended a conversation with my dad, we had the same exchange.
My dad went to sleep in his home last Nov. 26 and didn't wake up. I want you to know how grateful I am that you woke me up. You have no idea how comforting it is to know the last words we said to each other were those of love. Thank you, Abby, for waking me up before it was too late. -- BONNIE BARNETT, IRVING, TEXAS
DEAR BONNIE: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved father. I may have given you the message, but you had to be receptive and ready to hear it and take action.
It takes only a moment to say, "I love you," or to express appreciation. And as important as the spoken word is, the written word can be enjoyed over and over again. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: The New Orleans reader who commented on a letter to a catering company brought back memories. Our son was active in a church youth group that needed an electrical modification in the room the group was using. He asked an electrical contractor in the church to do the work and later offered to pay. The contractor told him the work was gratis. Our son then wrote him a letter of thanks.
Two weeks later the contractor died of a heart attack. I spoke to his widow at the funeral. She told me her husband actually cried when he got my son's letter. He had done dozens of small jobs gratis at the church and was usually thanked with a word -- but that was the only time he ever got a letter of thanks.
Our son is now chairman of the department of religious studies at a large university. He certainly learned the importance of a written note. -- PAUL A. MILLER, WICHITA, KAN.
DEAR PAUL: You sound like a proud parent -- and you have every right to be. You raised an intelligent and considerate son.