As you know, I love the written word in many forms. I love the feel of the paper words are written on. I love them especially when they come as letters, but that doesn’t happen much these days. It’s a pity.
The letter is such a personal thing. The choice of stationery, the smell of the paper, the scent of the person who wrote it, the strangely shaped formation of the writing, the odd stain from a tear or a coffee mug – they all add up to a presence, don’t they? The presence of the person who wants so badly to speak to you that they have taken time to write a letter.
It has been a long time since I’ve had a letter. I know that doesn’t mean that people aren’t thinking of me. They are. They are just communicating in a different way.
When my mother-in-law died she left a series of notebooks and journals that chronicled her many overseas trips and adventures as a girl travelling a world very different from today’s. Inside them were letters she’d received and kept for decades along with unfinished letters she’d begun to write. It was a whole period of her life captured in letters, notes and a few snapshots. It’s a legacy of real value to us. Far more personal than money or ‘things’, we still have the smell and feel of her captured in those pages.
What are we going to leave our kids? I hate to think that they’d need to sit at a computer to hear from me again. Emails, articles published somewhere online -they are not very personal in touch although the content might mean a lot. Perhaps we need to go back and pull out our pens and paper. Perhaps we need to think about the value of peronal touch particularly after we’ve gone.
Absence is so definite. How soothing it would be to feel that special presence again. If the closest I can get is to hug a letter to my chest, that’s still enough to keep us connected.
I was looking through the TED Talks this week and this presentation caught my eye. It seems that I am not the only person who feels this way about letters. It was from this presentation that I took the term ‘value lagacy’. The presentation is only short (about 4 minutes) but it is quite emotional. I hope when you watch it, that between us we have convinced you to pull out pen and paper and create your own value legacy for the people who love you.
3 Thoughts on “Leaving a Value Legacy”
How lovely that you still have those letters, Bridie. They must mean so much to you especially now that you look back.
Imagine how much we lose when our hard drive crashes? There’s nothing to tie up in ribbon and tuck away for the future, is there? I find something very intimate in looking at people’s handwriting in those special pieces of writing. Bridie, I’m glad you kept those letters. So many of those things don’t really show their value until years later, do they?
I have an Aunt who writes me a letter now and then… it’s so nice to receive it as, like you, I don’t received many letters these days.
I went to boarding school and I still have every letter that my parents (and anyone else!) sent me during that time. It’s nice to sometimes get them out to read.
I also love watching Who Do You Think You Are? and very often the celeb finds out a whole heap of family history purely from letters that were sent back and forth. It just won’t be possible in the future as the emails will we long gone…. shame.
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