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Columbia Missourian


November 29, 2012 | 10:00 a.m. CST

Taylor Dillard is the daughter of Steve and Michelle Dillard. She is a sophomore at Rock Bridge High School, and she wrote this essay as an assignment for Mrs. Marilyn Toalson's class.

"I never knew that would be the last thing I got to tell her." I spotted this headline yesterday when glancing at the paper. Normally, I only will read an article if it is about sports or someone I know but for some reason this headline seemed to spark my interest. I grabbed the page and headed to my room to lie down. As my eyes crept across each line, and down the page they slowly filled with tears. The article was about a young boy, about my age who had just gotten into an argument with his mother right before she went out of town. His mother unfortunately never returned from her trip due to a fatal car accident. His heartbreaking last words to her happened to be the three most dreaded words a mother wants to hear. "I Hate You." At the time, she probably just brushed them off and the son didn't really mean it, but now he is left with that scarring memory for the rest of his life.


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I finished reading the tear jerking article as it talked about the memories they shared and when the services would be held then neatly folded the paper back up and sat there in my room in silence. This story really made me reflect back on my own life. Sadly, I know that I have said those three horrible words to people in my family, the people I am supposed to love and care about the most. The thought of those words being the last three that person would ever hear from me had never even crossed my mind before. I have been extremely fortunate in life so far in that I haven't lost a family member, but just because it hasn't so far doesn't make that true today, or tomorrow, or even a week from tomorrow. Reading this story showed me how unpredictable life can be and not a single second should be taken for granted. It also emphasized the idea of family in my eyes. Sure friends are great to have, but family will be there for till the last day.

Looking back at the way I have treated my family, I know there are things I should have done differently but there is one thing that I remember doing and now I see why. Every night since I can remember my last words to my parents have always been "I love you" simply out of habit, just like brushing my teeth and washing my face, never thinking twice about it. Thinking back, what if that boy's last three words to his mother would have been those instead. For the rest of his life he would live knowing that his mother knew he loved her rather than wondering if she hung onto those last words she heard. I believe in the power of "I love you." Three simple words that could have altered that boy's life, and his story that has altered mine.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor is Joy Mayer.