A letter long over-due

Dear Fellow Journalers,

This story is a work of fiction, but it could have been and might still be written by someone who is struggling with the unsent letter.

…..”died on Wednesday.” The obituary was pretty straightforward. She skimmed the article and then almost dropped the coffee cup she’d been holding. ‘…. survived by his wife of 45 years. He leaves behind his son, ____ and his daughter ____”. She looked at his picture and remembered….

The last time she had seen him was 7 years ago. Back then she’d been on the cusp of adulthood and full of thoughts and dreams and ready to take on the world. She thought she knew everything and that her parents, especially her Dad, was  too strict. They’d had a tremendous fight over her smoking and he’d embarrassed her in front of her friends. She’d written a note to her Mom, grabbed her savings book, some clothes and climbed out her bedroom window. She’s been running ever since.

Along the way she had finished college (at night), got a job, met the man of her dreams and was planning on getting married. She had tried writing her parents  but never got past the “Dear Mom and Dad”. “Now I’ll never get to write that letter” she said aloud to the empty kitchen.

The wake was Friday afternoon but she couldn’t face her family. “Too many questions” she had told her roommate. The truth was she couldn’t face her ‘perfect brother, his perfect wife and their children’. She’d followed them on Facebook – smiling faces and awards. “What about your Mom?” Katy asked. She shook her head. ” I can’t go.”

Curiosity and a sense of obligation taunted her and she dressed and went out to the church on Saturday morning. She found a seat near the door. So many people she thought to herself. She recognized some of the neighbors and friends. Her brother (the lawyer) gave the eulogy. He mentioned her when he talked about their childhood. When her tears fell on the program she left. Later that night, after sharing a bottle of wine with her boyfriend, she sat at the desk in her bedroom and finally found the words….

Dear Mom and Dad,

     This letter is long overdue. I have written it in my mind many times but never put it on paper until now. I was so wrong about so many things. I thought I knew everything. I realize now that you were only trying to protect me. Smoking could have led to other, more horrible addictive things. In my case it didn’t. I gave up smoking. I know I must have hurt you so much when you didn’t know where I was.

~~~~~Present Day~~~~~

     “Mom” my daughter Megan called me from the back of the closet. “Look what I found!” She crawled out holding a packet of letters tied with a faded blue ribbon. ” They look like letters” I said. “Love letters?” She winked at me. I opened the envelope and read the first line ” Dear Mom and Dad.” Oh, It’s the letter I never sent my parents.” Megan asked quietly, “why not?” ” I realized that all the fancy stationery, my best pen and a postage stamp wouldn’t be the best way to tell them what I really felt. I swallowed my pride and fear and went to see them instead.”

 

~Sallie

 

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