June 28, 2011

Tub-Full Tuesdays: Lessons from a Letter

Last time I was home Mom thrust two boxes at me. They were full of old letters and mementos from my childhood. It was time for them to come to my house after years of taking up space in Mom and Dad’s attic.
I found a lot of letters from friends, family, and my boyfriend (later husband). One particular letter was bittersweet. It was from a dear friend in high school. We moved from North Carolina to Kentucky with six weeks left of my junior year of high school. Leaving her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. She suffered from Anorexia, and she passed away not long after high school. I miss her every day.
She gave me this goodbye card just before I moved. We both cried. I remember the moment so well, but I had forgotten the words. The card read, “Goodbyes are never easy, and this one is especially hard−because I’m saying it to you.”
Her words:
Never have I met anyone quite like you! I’m going to miss you so much! I know this really doesn’t have to be goodbye because I know friends like us will always be together and close to each other in thought and by heart.
You mean so much to me, but I know you will find someone special to share yourself with in Kentucky! You are so beautiful that no one could turn you away. Remember everyone is afraid of changes, and I’ll always be here for you if this change becomes even harder to bear!
Remember, don’t work too hard because life is too short to worry your life away. You will do well no matter what in my eyes!
I love you.
With everything she was going through, she was worried about me. She taught me so much about friendship and pain. She used to tell me I was the only one she could talk to, and I struggled to understand why she couldn’t see her own worth.
But her letter filled my tub and reminded me how short life is. We shouldn’t spend it in a constant state of worry or fearing change. And I did find someone very special in Kentucky, my husband of sixteen years. Without the move, we would have never met.
Also, thanks to this letter and the many I found from my mother, I decided to start a new tradition in my house. Now each of my girls has a small mailbox outside their door. I will put a letter in when they need encouragement or just to know I love them. I hope they will save them, and some day they will find it at just the right time.
When was the last time you found words of encouragement from an unexpected place?


Kate @ Teaching What Is Good said...

What a sweet post and what a sweet idea to do for your children! Thanks, Tia. It was a lovely way to start my day.

Annette Gendler said...

Your post put tears in my eyes, Tia! Thanks for sharing. What a wonderful friend you had, and how precious that her words are still there to speak to you so many years later when she isn't around anymore.

Tia Bach said...

Kate, My kids are loving the mailbox and have left some letters for me, too. So sad to consider that letter writing is becoming such a lost art. Will people really keep emails to look back on twenty years later.

Annette, You are so sweet. The letter brought tears to my eyes, too, when I found it. The thought that she's gone breaks my heart, but her words strengthen me. Thanks for the retweet, too.

Thanks for all your blog support ladies!

Beth said...

I found an email last night from Sept 1999 written by Larry. It was tucked in a book -- I printed it out because it was a keeper! I do think letter writing is special and try to encourage my kids to write rather than email.

Tia Bach said...

Beth, I agree! I rarely keep emails, so it's sad that letter writing is going the way of newspapers.