Monday, June 25, 2012

Gifts for the Dying {Love Notes}

{I still don't feel up to writing a regular recipe post ... but I'm going to share with you some of what's in my heart. And how we packaged up love for a last birthday.}


It's been nearly two weeks since we lost Grammy, and as our townhouse fills up with her treasures ... it's sinking in. But sadness still only hits me in little bit-sized doses, surprisingly easy to wash down with a glass of wine. Is it good not to feel miserable? Bad? I think the former. And I'll tell you why.

It's not the antidepressants, either. I know what you're thinking.

I think it's because my mother-in-law died knowing just how much we all loved her, how special she was to us. We left nothing unsaid. My heart is peaceful.

A month before she died, J turned 70. Her cancer was progressing by that time, and she was already becoming more dependent on her family for everyday things. There would be no big party, no box of wine, no special dinner ... but what could we give her to celebrate the day she was born? She was clearly fading, and needed more stuff (in her words) 'like a hole in the head.' 

How do you wrap love?

And then it hit me. We would write her love notes - each scrap of paper containing a special memory, or a thing we loved about her, or how she's changed us. Nelle drew pictures. Robbie and I sat around the kitchen table and scribbled and laughed and cried. We tucked as many of these notes as we could fit into a little tin, and in the week after her birthday J laid in bed and read them one by one by one. 

She later said to me that people didn't often hear these things before they died. 

These are the sentiments of eulogies.
But shouldn't they be of life? Birthdays?
These things shouldn't be left unsaid, but too often they are.

I don't know about you ... but I'm going to be writing more love notes. Watch out.
Amanda xx

13 comments:

sarah said... [Reply to comment]

You are very wise :)

I'm sorry for your family's loss. What a blessing you were able to tell her all you loved about her, the 'sentiments of eulogies'. Would have meant so much.

Linda @ stuff i like said... [Reply to comment]

I love this idea. And yes, yes, yes to sharing and speaking of love in life. Much love to you three. xxx

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

beautiful. simply beautiful

Donna said... [Reply to comment]

Amanda, I know how much those little notes meant to Auntie Jeannie and so good of wonderful she had the opportunity to read them. I have been saving little notes and pictures that my girls (and on occasion my husband!)have done over the years. I am now inclined to put them in a special tin/box and place it somewhere visible so that we can see it and add new ones from time to time. Here's to more Love notes to brighten our days..... Hugs Xx

Theresa (Miss Charlotte) said... [Reply to comment]

How very lovely! That's brilliant! I'm going to share this thought with my family and friends...that, to me, is the most wonderful of all gifts, all wrapped up in love...thank you, Amanda. Oodles of hugs to you and yours. Cheers!

Accidental Lentil... said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, that is just beautiful. I can't think of a better gift, ever.

Paula said... [Reply to comment]

This is a beautiful idea and yes, I agree that it is the reason you are in such a place of peace over your Grandmother's passing.

(P.S. I did the same, only it was a long letter that I wrote to my Dad when he was dying. He was able to read it before he passed and that has always brought me more comfort than I could ever express)

thoroughlynourishedlife.com said... [Reply to comment]

Amanda, I am so sorry for your loss. This is a wonderful gift to have given your mother in law for her last birthday. What a beautiful tribute.
I am often given the job of writing birthday cards in our family. Some may call them overly sentimental, even sappy, but as you said, people should know these things during their lifetime. I love your vow to write more love notes. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.
I hope that your family can come together during this time and find peace. Her love will always be with you.

Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic said... [Reply to comment]

love to all of you sweet dear people out there xx

beckley78 said... [Reply to comment]

You have put into words what I have been mulling over in my head for the last 18 months, ever since my Nanna (now passed) got sick.

It made me think of my parents and their end of time moment. They are both in their 70's and I'm in my 30's, it's daunting to think they will soon be near the end, but let's hope it's still 10-20 years away (we can hope!).

I've often thought of their eulogies and what they may contain, and how sad it is that they will never hear them.

This is driving me to think of love notes like you mention. Giving them notes of the memories you most cherish about them, and what they have done to shape you into the person you are today!

Amanda thank you! Thank you so very much xx

Lucie D'Alessandro said... [Reply to comment]

Amanda, I'm so sorry that Grammy is gone. Telling her how much you loved and appreciated her is so, so beautiful. You've inspired me to dish out more love, thank you. Thinking of you, Lucie x

Another Outspoken Female said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful Amanda. And the perfect gift at any age.

My mother died this year and I found a stash of letters/cards/aerogrammes I'd sent to her from my many years of living overseas. Over two decades ago I sent a mother's day letter telling her all the things I liked about her. Now I'm the one who is grateful that I wrote it.

Fregard Mosform said... [Reply to comment]

I remember an aunt with this one. Wasn't really close to her before (she went on moving to france before i was ten if i got it right), but after i got to meet her in her last days i felt a kind of fondness for her. Adds up to the regret afterward since i didn't meet her sooner.

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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx

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