A few months ago I received a packet of letters in the mail. They were the last letters sent by my mother to a friend who, cleaning out her drawers 14 years later, decided to send them to me. They trace the first months of my daughter’s life, which were also the last months of my mother’s life, for she had just begun a course of treatment for advanced cancer. Reading the letters, I saw what she had written about me and her new grandbaby, the commonplace detail that had given her something uplifting to share. I could see what we have lost in the abandoned art and ritual of correspondence; how by our modest connections we extend our life and love. These remnants of my mother’s simple, selfless friendship remind me to do what I urge you here: write the letter. Write the letter today.
Aug. 16, 1999
I’m feeling stronger today. I guess time is the best healer. It was so nice of you to take the time and the effort to encourage me and show me your love and friendship.
Karen went home last night from the hospital. Little Georgia will stay on. It will be decided on a day to day basis how long she stays.
Aug. 28, 1999
Georgia now weighs 4 lbs. and 10 oz. The baby came home from the hospital last Tuesday afternoon. We talked to Ed & Karen today. They both sound tired.
Sept. 5, 1999
I talked to Karen this morning. Georgia now weighs 5 lbs. 4 oz. Tricia was with Karen & Ed from Tuesday night to Friday evening. She was a big help. Karen seemed to feel so much better.
I went to a Cancer Support meeting last Wednesday. Met so many nice people with lots of helpful hints & advice. Got a free wig also. It’s got some gray in it, so I’ll finally have more gray hair.
Sept. 12, 1999
Talked to Karen yesterday. Georgia goes for a check-up on Monday. Her dad told me she might weight 6 lbs. She eats all the time. Some friends of mine are going to give me a Grandma shower on Sept. 25th. It’ll be a brunch. Isn’t that nice of them!
My hair is falling out daily.
Sept. 19, 1999
Right now, I have a strange hair-do. I usually wear a hat when I go outside. Don’t want to shock an unsuspecting person.
Sept. 27, 1999
Georgia weighs about 7 lbs. now. She’s had either colic or some stomach distress lately. Karen calls me every week, sometimes 2 or 3 times. She is still very stressed out & worries about everything.
Sept. 29, 1999
Karen sent me directions how to meditate while sitting in a chair. I do it twice a day. Each time about 10 minutes. I hope I’m doing it correctly.
Oct. 14, 1999
We are not going to Calif. this weekend. I had a hard time making up my mind. Karen said since I couldn’t decide, let outside influences determine. The nurse called to tell me about my blood test. My white cells were down. Then on Monday Dr. Bell, the internist, put on a 24 hr. heart monitor on me to see if anything unusual showed up. That’s when I decided home was the best place for me. read more