Friday, September 24, 2010

Love Letters

Jen, my good friend over at Denton Sanitorium, has asked her readers to write a letter of thanks to someone who has been a strong influence in our lives. I have written many such letters and will undoubtedly write many more (I am, after all, a complete freak for such things), but I thought it might be more meaningful if I wrote about "the one that got away."

When a dear friend of mine died unexpectedly some time ago, I sent a letter of thanks to her daughter. That I was too late to send it to her will be a lasting source of sorrow for me. I had often thought about how wonderful she was, and I knew how much she had impacted my life.....I even told her on occasion.....but I never took the time to sit down and write her a letter that she could hold in her hands and read when she needed to remember that someone loved and appreciated her and thought she was practically perfect in every way. (I'm not exaggerating. She was.) But she did have her struggles, as we all do, and I wish I could have given her the gift of a simple letter expressing my love.

Instead, I found myself writing that letter to her daughter. I had missed my chance. Sadly, the next best thing was the only thing left for me to do.

I'm sharing my letter as a tribute to the lovely woman Dee was and is. I hope reading about her calls to mind those people in your life who are ready and able to receive the letter my friend never received from me.

Dear (Dees's daughter):

When your mom moved away, I was really sad. I had been her visiting teacher, and I didn’t want to give up the job…not because I was doing so much for her, but because she was doing so much for me. Being Dee’s visiting teacher was the greatest experience of being nurtured that I have ever had, outside of my own family members.

When I walked in the door, she would let me choose my favorite teacup, and then she would fill it with a delicious herbal tea. We would sit and talk about anything and everything––life, love, and (our favorite topic) motherhood. It was Dee who taught me that once your child chooses someone to marry, you make a decision to love that person, no matter what. She also taught me about cousins’ weekends at grandma’s house (a tradition I intend to adopt as soon as my grandchildren are old enough). She was so proud of all her children and their accomplishments. She showed me much of your beautiful photography and shared with me your brother’s determined and ultimately victorious journey to becoming a doctor.

When I was Young Women president, I asked the bishop to call Dee as a teacher; it was an inspired calling. She filled her girls’ hearts with love and laughter. They knew how much she cared about them, and I know their testimonies and self worth grew because of her spiritual gifts and devotion. Just walking into the room where she taught them was uplifting. She really knew how to set a warm and cozy mood, not by design, but because that was a part of her.

Of course, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. After all, she’s your mom. But I just wanted you to be aware that she mothered many people, myself among them, and that the following words are as true today as they were the day I wrote them, when she moved from our ward.


Delightful as the darling hats that only she can wear
Enchanting as the flowers she arranges with such flair
Empathic as can be, she is a loved and loving friend

Serene and soothing as a cup of tea (her special blend!)
Terrific as the job she does on almost anything
Endearing as the daffodils that pop up in the spring
Wiser than the wisest owl and warm as woolly mittens
Adorable as puppies, bunnies, baby chicks, and kittens
Refreshing as the ocean breeze that cools a summer day AND
Totally irreplaceable in every single way

with much love and joy in remembering your wonderful mother,
Sue Anderson

Dee's letter is in purple because that was her favorite color. The pink is to remind me of her soft cheeks and flowery, ribboned hats. I am grateful that I did at least write and send her that silly little poem after she moved away.

I guess the message I want to get across with all of this is simple: DON'T WAIT. Tell people you love them, and do it now. (Tell them why, too!) Let the people who have made a difference in your life know they matter...and sometimes, put it in writing. It means so much to get such a letter. I know, because I have saved every single one I've ever received. I treasure and revisit them. I'm sure you do, too.

So thanks for reminding me, Jen. (I think I have a few letters to write...)

After such a lengthy post, I really hope you can spare the time to read my guest post over at Salsa Pie today, where Caroline is enjoying a brief maternity leave (blog-style) after the birth of her beautiful baby boy. I really think you'll like what I have to say (though it probably made Caroline blush a bit). Oddly enough, it's sort of in keeping with what you just regards letting others know how you feel about them. Nothing happens by chance, does it? Not really, anyway. Hugs to you all.



jen said...

Thanks, Sue. And I'm headed over to read Salsa Pie. You're quite prolific!
ps Brad calls Marva Marvelous all the time. It can't be avoided with a name like that, I would venture.

Anonymous said...

Wonerful letter and great message you leave with us. Hugs

Cheryl said...

This is beautiful. I got a thank you card from my brother after he, his wife, and a bunch of other family members came to visit. We'd treated them all to lunch at a seafood restaurant.

I cried when I got the card. Thank yous are so rare these days and actually taking the time to sit down to write a brief note even more rare.

larainydays said...

When you think about how much receiving a note means, and how you never regret a kind note sent, it seems so silly not to do it more often. Thanks for the reminder

Jess said...

I have a lady that I visit teach who sounds just like your Dee. Thanks for the idea on who I need to express my thanks to

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks, Sue. I need to write letters more often. Yours was beautiful, and I'm sure your friend's daughter treasured it. I know I kept a similar letter when my mom died.

CB said...

When I go to funerals and hear wonderful things about the person's life I always wonder and hope that they were told those things while they were alive.
Sometimes we don't tell people how we feel when it could make a real difference in a relationship or just make a difference in their day.
This is a wonderful thing to do and I loved your letter to Dee I am sure she has read it! (wink)

Grandma Honey said...

This person sounds very much like a woman in our ward who died several years ago, but her name was Dee dee, and her favorite color was pink, not purple. She also was a wife and mother.

What a great reminder to express gratitude to those we love before it is too late. But I'm sure your letter means everything to her daughter.

yaya said...

In this tech age we forget that "snail" mail is so personal and can be that extra something to hold on to when you need a lift...I can't think of any time I've ever regretted writing a letter of appreciation...but unfortunately, many times I regretted not writing one. Thanks for the reminder!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

What a special letter indeed. I know how much all the cards and letters from my mom mean to me...especially and even more as more time passes since she has been gone.

She had kept all our cards in an album over the years. It was full of memories of what was going on when the cards were sent.

Blessings & Aloha!
Thank you for sharing!
And thank you so much for stopping by and your sweet comment... I would love to do some drawings for you...please do enter for some of the little giveaways on my previous post too.

Unknown said...

You are so right. I need to be better about telling those I love how I feel. But it was good of you to send her daughter that letter...I'm sure it was a great comfort to her.

Darlene said...

In this age of technology, writing a letter is truly a lost art. I think I would actually drop dead of shock if I ever received a letter in the mail. I do get an occaisional card, but a letter? Never!! That is just so sad, because you can read a letter over and over and still get joy just from reading it. I think it is wonderful that you at least sent Dee the cute poem you wrote with the beginning letters of her name. You were always so good at that! And yes, I am sure she would have loved getting a letter of appreciation from you, but I'm sure she already knew about that appreciation. It was a good thing that you wrote to her daughter and I am sure she will keep that letter forever and read it many times. This was a great post, Sue.

Momza said...

That is so kind.
We all could use those kinds of letters in our lives...writing them or receiving them.

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

I'm a practitioner of this, Sue. I've tried to write letters to each of those folks who've shone light in my path. I've even written about some of them in my part of the family genealogy because they were that important to me.

karen said...

I think, at someone's passing, the main comfort derived by the remaining family members is to hear how their family member was important and loved by others. You did exactly right to send the letter - how kind of you! We all have instances where we wish we would have done so sooner, but it helps us remember the next time. What a beautiful tribute to your friend!

and PS: I know I commented yesterday, but it never showed up! Oh...maybe I did it from Jen's blog... oops.

Caroline said...

Sue, I loved reading your letter to was beautiful. I am also honored to have had you guest post on my blog yesterday. Your kind words touched me deeply, and I feel even though we have never officially met, that I have a true friend in you. I can tell by the comments on your blog from all your lovely readers that others feel the same way. Sending love your way... :)

Pondside said...

I can imagine that the letter will be treasured by many generations of your friend's family. Your message - to let people know how much they mean to you - is an important one.

Joy For Your Journey said...

What a beautiful letter. I am sure it brought great comfort to your friend's daughter and helped with her healing.

Thanks also for the reminder to express our appreciation before it is too late.

BECKY said...

Thanks for the reminder, Sue, and what a lovely letter. Hugs to you!