With the exception of Sunday, I take delivery of mail every day, but I recently opened the mailbox door and found something I hadn’t seen in years, a letter. The writing on the envelope was clearly done by hand and I saw that the addressee was my departed wife Robin’s aunt Bessie.
Robin and Bessie had been close over the years and seemed to have a special bond. The two would always gravitate to one another at family gatherings and could be heard throughout the room talking and laughing. Bessie’s husband, Will passed away about twenty years ago and she now, in her eighties, lived alone.
I dropped the usual junk mail in the trash and stared at the unopened envelope for several minutes before putting it aside. I didn’t want to open it as I feared it would bring back a plethora of sad memories that I didn’t want to deal with. I ignored the letter for the rest of the day but late that night I awoke, retrieved the letter and opened it. The letter was penned by hand and read as follows.
“Stan, I hope this letter finds you in good health and spiritually optimistic. I think about my dear Will every day and on those days I also remember my dear niece and good friend, Robin. I know it has been almost a year and one-half since she was taken from this mortal world and all of us, but part of her remains inside me.
“I remember her walk, her smile, the way she talked and the way she cared so much about others. I recall all these wonderful things about Robin. I’m certain you also remember these things, and others, about the wife you loved so much. Never forget she also loved you more than any words can express, and that love will dwell within you forever.
“I, as much as anyone, can empathize with you regarding the pain and great despair you must have. I know about the feelings of loss that won’t leave and I, to this very day, speak Will’s name every day. I sometimes talk to him as if he were still here with me. Needless to say, his memory will always be with me as will Robin’s cherished memory remain with you forever.
“When I visit places once frequented by Will and I, it often reminds me of the wonderful times we spent there together. I can almost see him walking with me and I remember his face in great detail. I was once afraid I would lose the ability to recall his image, but I haven’t. His likeness remains with me and it is as clear and pure as ever.
“The hardest times for me have been at night. As I prepare for bed I miss the sound of his voice and the sleepy words he spoke. I long for the knowledge that I am not alone as Will is there with me, and he will be there when I awake. I find that, even now, I reach to touch him in the morning when my eyes first open, but soon remember he’s not there any longer and my arm slowly withdraws.
“My purpose in saying these things to you is to tell you that I understand the feelings you must have. I know how difficult it is to lose your one true love but never forget this; I have lived twenty years after Will’s passing and, as he would have wanted, I cherish the gift of life while never forgetting the glorious time I had with my husband, Will.
“I pray that in some small way the message contained in this letter helps to slightly assuage the grief and loneliness you must live with every day, as do I. Never forget what once was, but don’t languish in the past and permit yourself to imagine a bright future.
Love always, Bessie.”