Valentine's Day seems like an appropriate time to remind you of two things, people cannot read your mind no matter how well they know you, and you should never take the important people in your life for granted. Valentine's Day gives you the perfect reason to express your feelings. Forget running to the greeting card aisle at the corner drug store to search through cards filled with generic sentiment. The genuine words that come from your heart are the most cherished gift that will keep giving for years to come.
When my mom passed away relatively unexpectedly, I always wondered if she had more to say to me; additional advice and stories to tell. Her death was a valuable reminder that we never know when our last day will come and will never be fully prepared. As we sorted through her desk drawers and file boxes, I secretly longed to find a personal note telling me all that I longed to hear.
We did find a box filled with letters. Turns out my mom had saved every single card and letter we had sent over the years. My sister and I sat down on the carpet with glasses of wine, the box on the floor between us, with my mom's favorite Judy Collins album on the record player and immersed ourselves in memories. My own words scribbled on lined stationary reminded me of feelings and events I had long forgotten. I had a chance to relive my college days, pine for lost loves, and laugh. My stroll through the past was reassuring, enlightening, and bittersweet.
True, we should not linger in the past but it is important to understand how it makes us who we are today. After my trip down memory lane, most of all I was reassured that I had expressed fully and often how much I appreciated and loved my mom. We found the following quote written in her handwriting on a yellow sticky note on her front door: "I can say with certainty that I have been loved every single day of my life."
It's too bad that we don't write letters anymore. Texts and tweets can be expressive, but they are often composed without much thought and eventually disappear into thin air like wishes on the breeze. When you write a letter, not only are you communicating day to day activities and impressions, you are also reflecting on your feelings and considering your words more carefully. You are aware that your written words will live on past you. After all we are still reading words carved on tablets of stones ages ago.
When my kids were born, I was so sleep deprived and exhausted that I have very little memory of those days. I do have a journal where I detailed my feelings, daily activities, etc. I get a great deal of pleasure from reading these memories of days that would have been lost in time.
So here's a suggestion; go get some stamps! Dig out that stationary in the back of your desk drawer. Spray it with perfume or stamp it with sealing wax if you want to be fancy. Write letters to the ones you love whether you deliver them or not. Tell them how you feel, so they will know. Write what it is like to be you on this particular day in your life. Tell a memory from your youth that will be fascinating to your kids when they have the time and patience to read it. If one or both of your parents has passed, and you long for a letter from them telling you how they feel, advising, or encouraging you; write that letter you wished you had received, and send it to yourself. Give this gift and warm a heart for Valentine's Day.