One thing about packing to move…you find all kinds of things that you never knew were lost – a favorite piece of jewelry, a photograph or two, a letter that you wrote to thank someone and never sent.
Things like that.
Some of the memories are lovely. Pictures of the kids when they were tiny babies for example. And for a moment you feel like a bad mother because you can’t tell the boy from the girl. Then again, most babies look a lot like Winston Churchill so instead of berating yourself for not knowing one from the other, you can find joy in the fact that they are beautiful and don’t look anything like the great man.
But some of the memories are not joy-filled. Like a letter I received from my sister Jackie – who died a bit over nine years ago. She had a heart problem and I got an emergency call from Philadelphia that she was going in to the hospital for a “procedure.” Nobody said just what the “procedure” was, but they suggested I come immediately…So I booked a ride on the next available plane.
The letter was her thank you to me for showing up so promptly and staying with her through the whole thing – which turned out to be merely the placing of a stent. Of course, when it’s your own heart, there really is no such word as merely. But it was over and done fairly quickly, even though it had to be redone in a few days. Ultimately It DID work.
Anyway. The sad thing was that she wrote so eloquently. Nothing maudlin, no drama. Just a beautifully phrased letter of appreciation.
The sadder thing? I never reciprocated in kind. I planned to. I meant to write and tell her how having a sister was a great thing. That whatever inconvenience she worried about me enduring in her behalf was more than worth it.
I didn’t say anything like that. Actually, I didn’t write at all. I didn’t call and tell her I loved having her for my sister. That life was better for me because she was in it. After all, she was only 67 wasn’t she? We had plenty of time.
And then we didn’t.
A few years later, Jackie was coming home from a movie…a very funny movie according to Lee, her friend of many years who was with her.
“We were laughing about one particular scene when all of a sudden she said that her hand felt funny…”It’s tingling.’ she said.”
Lee swung the car around and headed immediately to the closest hospital…but it was too late. A massive stroke killed her. And I didn’t get to say all those things I was gong to say…later.
I don’t know why I don’t learn that lesson. I didn’t say beautiful things to my Mother before she died either. Not because I didn’t love her – very, very much, but because I just don’t do that.
And now I wonder why.
I cherish the letter I have from Jackie where she tells me how much it meant to her to have me there. But I’m looking for the reason I never gave that kind of thing back to her.
It wasn’t that I didn’t’ know she wanted to hear it. I did. But I‘m just not very good at saying it. If I could make a funny line out of it, I’d give it a shot, but just telling someone she is important in my life comes hard to me.
I think I might frame the letter. Maybe if I post it where I can see it, I’ll remember to tell people I love that I do, indeed, love and cherish them.
But probably not. Just putting it on paper feels like I’m writing someone else’s line in a not very good play.
WORD OF THE MONTH
PROCRASTINATE: To dally, dawdle or defer.
Now those are nice, harmless words. But toward the end of the list in the Thesaurus come put off, stall and vacillate. And each of those is an accusation.
Moral of the story. Stop finding reasons not to—just say it. Write it. Sing it. But let your people know.
Funny story about procrastinating. In Philadelphia there was actually a club know as The Procrastinators Club. Its members actually sent a letter to the President of France during my lifetime, decrying the shoddy work that caused the Liberty Bell to crack.
I love that.
Progress report on my Tiny House. I went to see my soon to be home today. It is incredible. It’s hard to believe that David is able to show this much imagination is that small space. But the biggest thing he has accomplished is to make it feel – not small at all. He has added extra windows and extra large double glass doors and skylights so that it is bright and airy looking and feeling.
Everything does double and triple duty. And nothing looks crowded. It’s going to be wonderful for boy and me.