I was reading through some of my past Ramblings and rediscovered this post from 2016. I find it is still relevant to me today. I’ve edited it a bit and would like to re-share it with you. Perhaps you’ll find something of interest in it as well.
Repost from 2012 and 2016 – I was recently in New York City and visited the 9/11 Memorial located directly across from where the World Trade Center towers once stood. During my visit, I came across this book, Remembering 9/11. The memorial and the book triggered a flurry of memories of that tragic day. I was moved by the items at the memorial that represented all those people who lost their lives that day. Moreover, I was touched by the letters from family members and friends whose lives were forever changed by the tragedy of that day. Those letters stirred up memories from my own life, particularly memories of my dad, who passed away in 2006.
Not long after this NYC visit, I ran across the letter I had given to my dad three months before he lost his battle with cancer. I had written to him as I reflected on the great memories I had and I wanted to thank him for who he was and how he had impacted my life. That letter became the foundation of my talk at his funeral. As I re-read the letter I found the deep emotions of his loss surface along with many wonderful memories of him. The letter brought back into clarity these important memories and I recognized the power of the written word to help keep memories and feelings alive in my heart and fresh in my mind.
This was again reinforced on Mother’s Day when I was in Naples visiting Mom. We were having brunch with our pastor, Rev. Steve Wigdahl. He mentioned he had written his mother a letter and mailed it—not that a phone call would not suffice, but he thought a letter would be something that she could touch and read time and time again until he saw her again. As Rev. Steve said, this is the great aspect of letters that we have forgotten and lost in this technology-focused world of ours.
These experiences have helped me to be thankful for my life and memories, both the good ones and those of events I wish had not occurred. I was blessed as a child growing up. I was blessed during the years my own children grew and developed. I remember the wonderful times of our family camping trips and experiences and of being engaged in my children’s activities and their career development as they matured into the great people they are today. I treasure these times and am constantly reminded that while the details of these memories may fade a bit, they cannot be lost or forgotten. We need to remember the wonderful nature and importance of family.
I encourage you to sit down and write your parents a letter if they are still living and thank them for all they have done over the years. Write letters (and mail them!) to your children reminding them how important they are to you and how proud you are of them (regardless of their age). As the Caribou Coffee slogan says, “Life is short, stay awake for it!”
“Cherish your memories and write a letter to those you love!”