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In our home, neither Dad nor Mom ever said to me or my siblings "I love you'. I didn't know any different until I started going to 12 step meetings. Those people hugged me and said "I love you". It freaked me out --- how could these people love me - they don't even know me!

I kept going to meetings because I was miserable and I ran out of things to do and nothing else worked up until then. I realized how this kind of thing initiates a connection with the other person. It actually made me feel as though I was part of something and not an outsider. The first time I said it to my Dad before we hung up the phone --- absolute silence on the other end. A few phone calls later, he actually said it before me and now it's natural and heartfelt. I just got back from his personal care home and when I left - I kissed his forehead and we exchanged "I love you" :-)

My mother was hard of hearing and then finally lost her hearing altogether. It took her a while longer to respond in kind --- but like someone else said, it made a big difference that I continued saying and showing it despite an "I love you" back. To be honest, in the beginning, I felt stupid and awkward by persisting. I thought I needed to knock it off because I was making her feel uncomfortable or that I was never going to hear what I wanted - ever. But for some reason I didn't quit. After Mom became deaf, we communicated by writing on a whiteboard or signing ... I'll never forget the first time Mom signed, "I love you". I felt like I was going to cry.
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i also put more stock in actions . if your mother doesnt spit on you , try to stab you or throw lit matches at you its reasonable to assume that she loves you .
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My response may be unpopular, but here goes. I think behavior matters a whole lot more than words. If she acts as though she loves you, that would be enough for me. If not, then hearing the words wouldn't help one bit. My mother tells me she loves me from time to time, but she clearly doesn't. We had a close relationship for many years, up until the point where she began needing to rely on other people's resources to continue to live the way she wanted (house, car, dog, etc., as well as the shopping trips, doctors visits etc. that most old people need help with). At that point, I became merely a resource to her. The words out of her mouth don't change that - it's clear in everything she does. And doesn't do, and asks/expects me to do for her. This past year, she totally forgot my birthday, for example. She's not senile, just self-centered and thoughtless. Do you feel loved by your mother? Do you feel she's showing you as much love as she can, given her present level of functioning? That's what I would care about, not the words or lack of them.
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Do you mean she not physically able to speak anymore? Mom's love is always right there for you, even if she can't physically get the words out. Give her a hug, kiss the top of her head.
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You hold her hand, kiss her cheek and tell her anyway.
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My Mother has never been able to say she loves anyone which makes caring for her at this stage even harder. I fight the resentment daily. Keep your good memories and cherish them.
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