My cousin, Dick and his wife, Lannie were in Arizona, at their daughter and son-in-law's house for Thanksgiving. He died in his sleep this morning. He didn't even meet the national life expectancy age.
I am so sad. He was older than me by a bunch--my sister's age so she knows him really well. I remember as a kid thinking he was simply the best. He was funny, smart and good looking, He went on a mission (two years) for our church (LDS) and when he came back he told me I had changed from a kid to a young lady. He kept telling me I was beautiful. I will never forget how I felt--I wanted to be thought of as grown up and I was thrilled to hear someone say it. The "beautiful" part was a bonus. I hugged him and got lipstick on his white shirt collar. I hoped he wouldn't know who was responsible as everyone was hugging him.
He met Lannie, who was from Arizona and she was the cutest girl alive. Honest, she was. (Still is.) She had gorgeous dark hair, a face like an angel, and had a personality that wouldn't quit. One day Dick was teasing me and I was mad at him so I stomped my foot and said, "You don't deserve Lannie!" He just laughed. Of course he deserved her.
They have parented a bunch of children and have a whole gaggle of grandchildren. Dick's dad, Uncle Virge--who I adore--has lived with them for a long time. Uncle Virge is ninety-six. He has lived to loose his wife and both of his sons. Today is a sad day. Today is also a thankful day for the way Dick lived his life and for the fine people he reared and taught right from wrong. I'm sorry I didn't tell him I loved him. I think he knew but gosh, why didn't I write him a letter and tell him so? I have lost the chance, now. Lost it forever.
One of my New Year's resolutions in January was to write one hundred letters. I did write a few, maybe twenty-five, maybe even as many as thirty-five. I didn't keep track. There are lots of people I love and admire. Some I sympathize with and want to tell them I'm sorry that they are going through hard times.
There are thirty-eight days before another New Year's Eve rolls around. I'm not going to make my goal.
Why have I put off doing this really important thing in my life? Email is fast and easy but not like a beautiful piece of stationery in an envelope with a stamp. Not like that perfect card you have spent 20 minutes hunting for at the Hallmark store. Not even like a note, scrawled on a piece of notebook paper, torn from the spiral binding with the "chads" still dangling. (They probably aren't "chads" but it seemed like the perfect word.)
In my kitchen window is a thank-you card from a friend. It has water spots on it from the kitchen sink. It is faded from the sun and you know what? It's been there since July. Why is it still there? Here's why: "...I do so appreciate our friendship. You are so fun and make me happy when ever I am with you. I love you so much. Fondly, Jo" I take it down and read it often. It makes me feel good. It reminds me that I have a good friend and hopefully have been a good friend back. It reminds me that I am loved.
So, even though I didn't make my goal of one hundred cards, notes or letters this year I think I will make the same goal this New Year's Eve.
I will write to Lannie. How will I ever be able to tell her how sad I am that her husband has died? How will I ever be able to tell her how much I love and admire her? I have to try, otherwise how will she know?
I will write to my kids. Hopefully they know they are wonderful and that I think they are exactly who they should be but I need to tell them that. How will they know I think they are wonderful and why, if I don't tell them?
I will write to my friends--so many I love for so many different reasons. They probably all would love to get a letter, a real letter in the mail.
I will write because it's important and is becoming a lost art. It's important. It's going to be one hundred times important next year. I promise.