When our parents died, my sister and I kept many of their personal items; we divided up family heirlooms, knick knacks, books, photos and letters.
Some of the things I brought home with me have been incorporated into my own, such as their Christmas tree ornaments, which now adorn my tree. Many items have been donated after realizing I didn’t need or want them and some have simply tucked away until I’m ready to look at them or have a house big enough in which I can display them properly.
While rummaging through a closet in our loft last week, I found a stack of letters my father had written to my mother.
How ironic that that very day for Fat Mum Slim’s Photo of the Day for July, the topic was “letters”. I grabbed them, took a photo and posted it on Instagram with the following message:
A handful of letters my father wrote my mother. I haven’t been able to read them because the sight of my father’s handwriting is almost too much to bear.
I meant every word.
Seeing his handwriting is hard.
Harder than I ever could have imagined.
Plus, these aren’t my letters so I’m not even certain I should read them.
On one hand, it’s tantalizing to read something addressed to someone else knowing it was never meant for my eyes and on the other, I wonder what clues they can provide about my mother and father’s relationship and do I really want to know? They were written a long time ago, back before my parents were married.
For now I’ve decided they will stay tucked safely in the closet.
Within the stack, there were also a few other letters; letters my grandmother had written her daughter, letters my other grandmother had written her soon to be daughter-in-law, letters my aunt had written her soon to be sister-in-law and a notepad. Clearly these were precious to my mother, stacked and kept together with a piece of red string.
The note pad was the most intriguing. Inside I discovered mostly blank pages until the very back where there were six handwritten pages.
Page one begins: “It all started…”
With those three words my heart skipped a beat as I foolishly believed I was about to gain some insight into my mother’s young mind and personality.
She refers to wanting to “this to be her story” and a “manuscript”. It seems she was attempting to document her life.
Growing up, I did not have the type of relationship with my mother that I had hoped for. She was distant and indifferent and I was always searching for ways for us to be closer. Could these six pages hold the secrets to my mother or a special message just for me?
In the end, the pages held no clues and were nothing more than a school girl’s account of a family that moved around a lot. Clearly this was just the beginning of something she had intended to write and share someday.
Once again I had learned nothing of any great significance about the woman that raised me and as so many times before was left with an incredible amount of sadness and disappointment.
How can a person no longer here still make me feel this way?