Another summer day. The temperature has been warmer than expected. Patty listened to the news alluding to the scorching weather. Yet the heat wave wasn’t Patty’s chief worry that morning.
Patty’s health had not been the best in the last couple of weeks. She had missed a few days of work. Missing work made her feel uneasy as she rarely did. Patty was one of those exemplary employees. As a retired school teacher, she faithfully followed the principles of discipline and work ethic she taught in her thirty years of instructing middle school students. Now working in social services in a nursing home, the nature of the job made no difference; her principles remained inviolate.
Patty had never been a morning person. But she decided to drag herself out of bed way too early this particular day—for no apparent reason. She opened her closet door, and glanced inside, trying to decide what to wear. It certainly had to be something casual and comfortable.
She remembered that a pair of lace-up sandals were at the very top of the closet. She had only worn them once. Patty stretched to reach the sandals, and with some difficulty, was able to grab them by the laces which dangled over the edge of the shelf. As she sat the sandals on the floor, she noticed something had dropped from the top of the closet. She frowned, focusing on an envelope lying on the floor, near where she had placed the sandals. She picked it up. It was a letter mailed to her in 1968.
My mother’s letter!
Patty recognized the envelope as containing one of the many letters her mother sent her during her junior year of college. She sighed as past memories rushed into her mind. She vividly recalled her excitement when she was accepted to an out-of-state college. Knowing that she would be away from her mother brought her as much happiness as she anticipated her college experience would bring.
Mother was so mean...
Resentment gnawed inside of her, despite the almost twenty years since her mother’s death.
Patty looked up into the closet. She had pulled a card box in which she kept her mother’s letters halfway off the shelf in her quest for the summer sandals. Patty jumped up and grabbed the box with one hand as she clutched the letter against her chest— unconsciously placing the letter closer to her heart.
She turned around and fell onto her bed. Lying on the bed, she began leafing through the stack of her mother’s letters. Patty pulled the letter from the envelope she held next to her bosom and read it. Her heart pounded as she carefully read each line. Her mother’s words rang different to her now.
Nothing like how I read my mother’s prose in my younger days.
The letters now bloomed with words of wisdom and love. Patty’s eyes welled with tears, blurring her vision for a moment. She wiped her eyes, and continued reading letter after letter. More tears streamed down her face. Unexpectedly, Patty felt light-hearted. Peaceful.
Searching for the meaning in her heartfelt moment, Patty realized she may have discovered something she had missed in her mother’s letters.
These words express my true mother, her feelings about me. Patty sighed.
I was too young and immature to understand my mother’s struggles and burdens. Hurtful feelings blinded me from seeing beyond what I believed to be my mother’s harshness.
Patty felt the loving spirit of her mother that day as she never had before. While part of her believed it was just coincidence that one of her mother’s letters happened to drop to the floor that morning, Patty preferred to think that it was a gift from her mother to brighten her day.
Patty thought of how special her mother was every time she grabbed a pen and paper to send her a loving message. Beautiful words preserved for forty years now.
Letters genuinely inked with love.