As I get older, I like to go back in my files and enjoy some letters from people who have written back to me. I have been writing letters since 1957, and include some of the best for my mood enhancing.
From a professor in Library School, San Jose, Ca.
A little card, via snail mail.
Two weeks ago I recieved your very welcome letter describing your work and life in New York. I read the letter to my classes and shared it with the rest of the faculty. They were delighted as I was to hear of your success and of your satisfaction with your job.
Thanks for sharing with us.
Sincerely, Terry C.
From a long time friend, who has known me since 1978.
I have kept all of your letters- quite a stack of them! And I appreciate all of them particularly the one about “waiting”. Please do keep up the correspondence -you are the only one I get letters from!
The same fellow writes later-
I saved all your letters from recent years and I have a stack 3 inches high! You are a wonderful and expressive writer, I hope your family and friends appreciate this.
Here we see what the electronics in communication have done to our culture. This man gets only one person who will write letters and essays in depth. All his other mail is bills, and junk mail.
Here is a professor of History from a foreign country who I met in 1979 while traveling.
I wrote of my ex-husband’s death, and he wrote back with sympathy via e-mqail.
I am filled with genuine admiration at your amazing fortitude and resolute good humour in the face of such constatnt tribulations. What a strong woman you are.
I love the installments of your life that you send me so faithfully. They’re wonderful: direct, unvarnished evocative, and beautifully written. You really must write more. I do not, of course mean just for me but in the larger sense of the word.
Here is a letter from an old high school pal that touched me, and I do not read it over often because I do not want to cry.
I am so sorry that your lovely daughter has gone.
I admire your ability to ease your pain with such a lovely letter to her.
The day I opened my computer and saw it I stopped breathing.
That morning I had felt annoyed with my daughter— for something insignificant. She had gone to school that morning and I was feeling grumbly. My computer had been fresezing, I had the flu, and just a lot of things made me feel off kilter.
Then, I read your letter.
I emembered you had told me about Pam in an earlier e-mail, so I read that also.
My daughter arrived and we read the letter together and had a good cry. We found that we had much to say to each other and talked and talked for hours.
Because of you and Pam and your sharing, C. and I are more aware how quickly life can change. We treasure each other more.
From one mother to another, I salute your courage and send you a very tight hug.
Here is my etter to my dead daughter that inspired this return letter from my friend.
My dearest daughter,
It has only been hours since I whispered “Goodninght” into your ear. I don’t know where you are now or even if you are.
I know you were accepting your death, and I tried to arrange everything done as you had wished.
There will be no flowers, funeral, viewing,etc, as you hated all that claptrap. You got to say goodby to your big black dog, and your horses.
Even though you could not talk that last day, you looked me in the eye and smiled faintly when I gave you crushed ice on a spoon. You were polite to the last, saying “Please help me up” even though you could not communicate what it was the you wanted “up” for.
You said many times that you had a good life and never worried about living to retirement age.
You had your animals, mountains to ski on, boats out on the river, and a family that loved you.
Somehow you knew that children were not in your future, so avoided the pain of leaving young ones to miss you. Your sister( Mormon) and brother (Buddhist) each pray for you in their own way, and all who ever knew you are grieving.
I will talk to you in my mind every Sunday night at eight, when we had our phone calls, and I hope you are in a safe, well lighted place.
Some of my friends who have responded to my letters and essays are now gone from my life, but as long as their sentiments are circling in the ether, I can comfort myself with their long ago words.