I was lucky enough to have parents that gave me roots and wings, and fortunate enough to get to thank my dad for that before he left me. In a letter, or card actually, opening up on the page has always been easier for me then doing it in person. I think the first time I told my dad I loved him, and he told me he loved me too, was the last time: in the hospital, the night before he died. I'm still thanking Mom, mainly through actions but the words are getting easier to say.
Despite what they say, words often speak louder, and are much less time-consuming.