I have a whole bag full of letters written by many different people and addressed to me, mostly from family and friends way, way, on the other side of the world, written before we we and they started communicating by computer. Handwriting is one of the things that has gone the way of the tyrannosaur.
Some letters are worth more to me than others, my mother wrote seldom, 'that was father's work.' Probably the only non-physical thing he knew, the physical tool he mastered and honored like a carpenter or blacksmith takes care of his hammer, was his bats, his shovel, which is now a museum piece also.
All the thousands of his compatriots digging ditches and canals have followed the tools of their trade and like the bats of my father and the scythe of his farming brother are known no more. Having these depressing thoughts going to my brain I found the letter of my wife written forty hours before her death to our three daughters. Without me knowing she wrestled with the idea of leaving something behind for them, a wise word or perhaps a blessing, instead she shared her struggle and finally her understanding of it.
A dying person does not pretend, so her words are valid, not only for our daughters but also for me, and I will share some with you. Anne had a difficulty in that she did not want to give more to one of our children than to the other, at one time she made dresses for all three out of the same material which non of the sisters liked.
Just before she died Anne found the solution – why not one letter for all three? She was on oxygen because of her shallow breathing, pausing frequently which I have indicated by –, and by ending the sentence. Anne spoke coherently be it with a weakened voice, calm and clear.
Anne - “so why should there be a first and a second – you know?
so – actually – in my life – my parents were most important – because they gave me life - they learned me what they could and that's what I became,
so – because of my parents – I became what I am
not so good – not so bad – just a normal person
and I've been thinking about that “
because of me – Janice has become what she has become
Debbie has – Len has – Jackie has – their children have,
they all have become what their father and mother are - and I think
that is pretty neat – because think about it – we had very little to do with it
you know – there they were!
we thought we could do everything
we didn't do anything
we just followed the pattern of our father and the mother
if you were angry about something we did
it's because of our father and mother
it's so strange
the fathers and mothers think they can do everything
they know it all
but at best they found out - they didn't know anything
they only followed the pattern of their father and mother
and it's all like that with God
I thought I start with God – because after all he made us all
well – he could've done a little better – I think
because we didn't have any problems then
why not good the first time? Then we didn't have any problems
but I guess that was not to be – for one reason or another
so – now I'm this far already – tel all your kids they are perfect
because God made You
so – I really don't have to go on – about anything
but that's dumb
more next time