Monday, August 25, 2014

Love Letters

Love letters, don't we all enjoy getting a love letter. There are those that have always commented about how much my mom and dad loved each other.  I mean, I know that as well, they were not opposed to semi-public displays of affection, meaning at home in front of us kids but not a whole lot out in the general public.  My dad was a man of few words, he was very intelligent but really never discussed issues or engaged in deep conversation.  He never really wrote much, a scribble here and there.  You knew he loved you because he worked hard.  He provided for his family and that is how he showed his love.

After his death, there came that dreaded time to make decisions about his (and my mom's) belongings, all the obvious photos and furniture, as well as the not so obvious mementos that were tucked into corners of the house.  This was a difficult process, coming face to face with the finality of it all.  The end of the family home, the home I grew up in, the home that pulled me back, like my center, the gravity that kept me from falling off the earth,  filled with love and dedication. Without the family though, the home really lost its pull, lost its meaning. It is, after all, the family that has the real pull, not the home. This meant going through all the old bank statements my mom kept from the time she opened her first bank account, yes she kept every scratch of paper, and to my surprise....LOVE LETTERS.

Everyone who knew my dad will find this amazing, I was shocked.  My dad was in the United States Army, and while he was separated from my mom, during basic training, he wrote a letter to her almost every day. A whole suitcase full, and my mom kept them all (along with books full of s&h green stamps and every power bill she ever paid).  If he ever missed a day of writing, he would apologize in his next letter. Judging by the content of the letters, she also wrote him every day.  So full of love, as well as the planning of their future together, how much he loved my older brother (my younger brother and I were not born at that time), how much he loved my mother, what their future would hold.  It is so touching, so loving, so caring.

I read ALL of them.  They are so personal, and I really feel like I know my dad (and my mom) better, and feel how much they loved and were dedicated to each other. Such a treasure to see how things were when they were first starting out as a family, to revel in that love as they are no longer here to share it openly and honestly themselves.  A peek into their personal relationship. I also enjoy seeing his handwriting, as sloppy as it was. At first I felt a little like I was eavesdropping.  But then decided to go ahead and read them all.  My thought being, if she didn't want anyone to ever see them, she would not have saved them.

I do save all the cards Jackson gives to me, and I know he keeps those that I send to him, but in this day of texting and e mail, that will be all our children have.  We rarely write anything out to each other any more. Maybe the written word should not be such a lost art form.

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