memories · Thanksgiving

Love Them With Written Words

Life is fragile, they say. Yes, it is fragile, like a Cone Flower. Once full of vigor and beauty, after a frost the ground is littered with the soft remains of petals. The tall stem bends and bows low. Life is the same. In Joshua 13:1 we read,

 Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years

Joshua knew he was old, and then God reminded him of that truth! We all know that with age comes infirmities. Some are debilitating. Some rob people of the ability to move, while other illnesses rob people of the ability to think clearly or to speak. We don’t know how our lives will play out, and while none of us wish to be “Old and stricken,” we just don’t know what the Lord will allow in our lives, nor how our lives will end.

As I’ve watched my own dad slip away from us over the last year, it has been painful. One blessing remains though, and that is the memory of conversations I’ve had with him; words he spoke into my life even in recent months, when his mind was keen, his heart was full, and his eyes brimmed with tears as he spoke.

“I’m proud of you girls and the lives you live.”
“You’re a good speaker; you do a good job!”
“I love you.”
“I sure appreciate all you’re doing to help us.”

How I treasure those conversations. I’ve written them in my journal for the days when I might forget the exact wording, or need to remember what he said to me on those days when our hearts and our eyes connected.

This year I read a book about aging and the author strongly encouraged her readers to write letters to their children, expressing exactly what they mean to them. She suggested telling them of their love and why they were loved. It took me a long time to finally sit down and do it, but I painted cards for my girls, then got out a pen and wrote them each a letter, detailing my love for them. I did it because I don’t know the future. My life could end abruptly. I could lose my ability to speak or think or write. Or their lives could end “early” and I would regret that I didn’t tell them how blessed I was to be their mom.

I had a sweet time recalling memories of my girls as I wrote. I sat in long spans of silence while I reflected. I smiled. I cried. I’m glad I wrote those letters. They will never have to wonder how much I loved them. I shouldn’t have waited so long.

This week of Thanksgiving, I’m going to challenge you to not only give thanks, but also to give words. Don’t just speak them. Write them. Write a letter or card telling your close family just what they mean to you. Leave out any negative memories. Just include what you want them to remember after you’re gone. It will be a treasure to them, unlike any earthly possession.

Get out your pen and paper and refresh your love for your family with written words.

11 thoughts on “Love Them With Written Words

  1. I will cherish that card forever! You’ve always done a great job of letting me know how much I am loved, but I’m grateful to have that precious card (and many others you’ve sent me…since I’m a Cunningham and don’t throw things away, ha) to cherish in years to come. ❤

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    1. I love your sentimental heart. It reminds me of your dad, and we all know he’s as sentimental as Barney Fife! “If you cry, Aunt Bea, I’m a goner!” I’m glad the letter meant to you what i intended. ❤️

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  2. This is so sweet, Denise.❤️ Clay and Sally Clarkson just released a book called “Giving Your Words”. I haven’t read it yet but they are wonderful writers who inspire loving your family well and creating life-giving homes and moments for your loved ones, so I’m sure this book will be as meaningful as their others I’ve read.
    I continue to pray for your dear dad. 🙏🏻

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    1. I have heard of the book that was just recently published, and even listened to the podcast when they discussed the writing of it. I will have to read it!
      Thank you so much for your prayers for my dad. These are very uncertain days for him, but it’s been a blessing to spend a great deal of time Together. God is always good and we are mindful to watch for His goodness even in this difficultly.

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  3. Hi! I love the idea of writing a letter to your children. I wrote a letter to my father in 2011 when he was diagnosed with Ideopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Glad I did because he died 5 months later. I know it meant a lot to him. I think a letter to my 23 year old son would be a blessing as well. Thanks for posting:)

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