Someday, I would really be interested to find out who started the habit of people ending their telephone conversations with the words "Goodbye, I love you." I mean, I understand why people do it: So they can say, during their tear-filled television interview -- and you have all seen them -- when they explain how their loved one died in that terrible car accident, "And the last words I said to him [or her] were 'I love you.' "
And that is important why?
I am pretty confident it is correct to say, in most cases, the last thing going through the head of that loved one is not "The last thing she [or he] said to me was that she loved me." I think it more likely the last thought would be something along the lines of "SHIT! That SUV with the woman [or man] on the cell phone just ran the red light and is heading right for me!"
I know quite a few people (mostly women, interestingly enough) who are members of the "Goodbye, I love you" club. They are usually the same people continually bad mouthing their husband or boyfriend to me. They take what appears to be an odd pleasure in relating to me how they ended an argument with "Fuck off" as they stormed out of the room. At what point were they thinking, if at all, "The last words I said to him right before he died of a heart attack were 'Fuck off!' "?
Sure, just because they curse their spouses does not suddenly mean they do not love them. But it is also true that just saying the words "I love you" does not suddenly mean you do.
Actions, as everyone knows, speak much louder than words. "Love" is something that you show another person (or an animal). It is not just a word you parrot.
Matt knows I love him because of the thoughtful things I do, or the little stuffed kitty I bring home after work just because I happened to see it and buy it for him, or in how I am supportive of him whenever I speak about him to others (either in his presence or not). I know Matt loves me when he runs to the drug store for something and just happens to return with a Reese's Peanut Butter cup for me because he knows how much I love them, or when he sets up the Wii for me so that don't have to.
Does this mean I never say those words to Matt? No. I save them for those times when the meaning is especially important, and those words really mean what they say.
So, in the long run, while I still think it weird, I guess it doesn't hurt to be a member of the "Goodbye, I love you" club. I just hope the people who strive so hard to always say those words spend an equal or greater amount of energy striving to live them.