Just realized that 3 January is the day my great aunt passed away....I believe it was 14 years ago. She was like a grandmother to me since her sister, my actual grandmother, passed away 10 days after I was born. She was this generous soul who still warms me when I think of her. I have a letter right here next to me, I keep it on my desk always, she sent it to me in the spring of her last year. Handwriting so familiar I can touch it and see her, hear her voice like a melody in the distance.
“I want to thank you for the letters you’ve sent me, mail is very special cause the days are kind of slow. So I really appreciate that you take the time to write. But more important the letters themselves – they are delightful, you have a real talent for writing and I hope you will develop it. Obviously you enjoy it because it shows. To be able to express yourself is great – but to be able to do it creatively and entertainingly is very special...”
Still by my side as I do what I love... You can see why I keep this beside me at all times on my desk! She always started her letters with “Hi Darlin” and ended with something like “Love- Love- Love-”
Not only does this continue to remind me of the importance of hand-on-pen-on-paper old-fashioned letter correspondence, ((a lost art that I single handedly, haha, try to keep alive)) but it gently whispers of how such a letter can touch us, fill a void, make the day go by faster every time we read it, again and again, no matter what age or season.
She encouraged me to write, to write more that just what school required, to appreciate the ease I found with words, and to do something...more. And every year she gave me a journal. It took a while for her words to sink in, and for me to hear them echo in the voices of others around me, until finally one day I realized that this was in fact something I was meant to do, somehow, somewhere, in my life. And now, I adore not merely writing, but inspiring others to write, working with children to teach them a love of words and expression, not merely the necessary elements, but the ones most important, found in between the lines.
I can’t fathom what she would’ve had to say about the concept of blogging or the internet, to know that what she had written that afternoon in May 1994, would in fact, one day grace the internet, and in a heartbeat, her words would, with ease, have the potential to touch all corners of the world. Funny how life can change and advance so rapidly, and then in moments we find ourselves right back there, in another day and time.
I have a sunflower candle that I gave her during that last year ((sunflowers were, like, soooo cool when I was that age ;)) and I light it on this day and feel the light of her generous spirit and the glow of her inspiration.
((image from angiecao.com photography))