I was going through a few boxes of old photos that also included cards and notes I felt compelled to save for thirty-plus years, and came across some old love notes, an apology post-it, and a letter or two from people I haven’t talked to since they died. And it was at that exact moment that I was so happy I had saved them.
One of the love letters was from my first husband who died tragically. He is the father of my son who has grown into the most wonderful human, husband, and father. Reading his note to me, expressing his love in the way twenty-somethings do, made me smile, laugh, and cry. We were not together when he died, but it was a deeply painful loss for me and my heart, and someone I will grieve for, as long as I am alive. Finding this letter meant so much to me and took me back in time to a place I hadn’t been in far too long.
Another was an apology post-it that was left on my car window, after an argument I had with my second husband. There were many things he should have apologized for back then but reading that note reminded me how happy I was that he apologized that particular day and softened the edges of the anger I have held on to for far too long. Because of him and the love we once shared, I now have a daughter that has grown into a lovely young woman whom I am incredibly proud of. I am thankful for these memories.
The note I found that I struggled with most, was from my sister, who in February will have been gone six years. And I cried. But I also smiled because I love that I get to go back in time to when she was alive and wrote me poems and letters and I could call her whenever I wanted to. I know these letters won’t bring her back, but they sure do make my heart smile.
This got me thinking about the people who are in my life now… will there be a love letter that they might find years after I have gone? Something they have held onto, can look back on, and will smile, laugh, and although they might also cry, will have a moment where they get to remember. Of course, I know they will remember me without a love letter… but I love the idea of leaving them a gift they can open as often as they want to… sometimes even by accident.
Perhaps after you read this… you can write a love letter… and leave it under a pillow, taped to a mirror, mailed in a beautiful antique box, or hidden somewhere that will come as a wonderfully delicious surprise for someone you love.