Sunday, September 28, 2008


The art of letter writing has pretty much gone by the wayside with email and text messaging these days. That is too bad. I've always enjoyed letter writing -- as many of you may know. When we were young and in school we were encouraged to have pen pals -- remember those days? In fact, my oldest brother married his pen pal who lived in England and they have been married 40 years! Right now, my sister-in-law's brother has been writing to me from England and it is so nice to go to the mail box and actually have a letter waiting for me some days. I've enjoyed writing to him as well.

I've written before about my letter writing to my son. The day he was born I wrote him a letter and every year on his birthday I have written him a letter. I put them all in the safety deposit box not knowing when the appropriate time to give them to him would be. Since my Alzheimer's diagnosis these letters have become even more precious to me. I'm able to share my feelings with him while I still can and when I can no longer remember what is going on at least he will know how I was feeling at some point. I have struggled to know when the best time he should received these letters. At first I thought it was when I died. He knew that I wrote them and at some point he would get them. Then, when he turned 21 I thought that would be the time. But, I decided to give them to him the night before his wedding this last August. We were alone together and I had gone to the safety deposit box to get all 25 letters out and put them in a box. I thought since he was starting a new chapter in his life, that I would give them to him. It was one of the hardest things I have done. I shed quite a few tears and I'm not sure why. His first reaction to me was -- "I don't want those now!". I don't know if he thought that this was an "end" of some sort or what. I told him that he didn't have to read them now -- he could read them five, ten or twenty years down the road. I added a letter that he was to read first -- and that bascially told him that I didn't care when he read them, but once he did I wanted him to tell me that he had read them if I am still alive. His other comment to me was "Does this mean you are going to stop writing me letters?" My response to that was "I didn't say that!" But, he has 25 letters from me now and who knows -- since his birthday is coming up I might write another to put away in the safety deposit box. I guess my reason for giving him the letters now is for him to decide when the right time to read the letters would be -- not for me to decide. Perhaps when my mind is to the point of not remembering him or what is going on it will bring some peace to him -- knowing how much he has meant to me through the years and how proud of him I am -- I may not be able to tell him that at some point and at least I know I'll have it covered!

I guess what made me write this post is that I just finished reading the book "Wednesday's Letters". It is about a man who wrote his wife a letter every Wednesday that they were married. He wrote them thinking that he would die before his wife and she would have them to read as a sign of his love. I won't spoil the book for you -- but it turns out they die together and the children find the letters. What ensues is a beautiful story and reminded me so much of my letters to my son.

If you miss getting letters in the mail from friends, write one yourself to a friend. You might get one back.


Unknown said...

What a beautiful post! I wrote letters to our children while I was expecting them, and some while they were growing up. They haven't read them yet and I hope to type them up one day and put them into a booklet for them...maybe sooner than later. I wish I had something like this from my mom! But we're having pretty good times now. (( hugs ))

Camilla said...

Hi. I happend to find your blog today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. My mum have alzheimer. She is 60 and live in a home now as she is now longer able to take care of herself. She can not speak and lives in her own world now. I have a blog where I write about beeing her daughter, but it is in Norwegian... She is no longer the person she used to be, but she stills smiles when I visit her. A bit of joy every day is the key word.

Wish you all the best.