Monthly Archives: November 2011

Giving a Last Letter

Back in April of 2011 I blogged about Writing Gini The post was a way to keep myself accountable about something I didn’t want to regret not following through with. Gini Andrews, my mentor and friend, is now 95 years old and 11 months. She has been a dear friend for 13 years and has played an integral part of my faith journey. Her life here on earth has been winding down with the support of a group of friends, friendship which is measured in decades rather than years. I am humbled that in a small way I am part of this group that is part of loving her into eternity. I have been thinking of this a lot for the past months. How do I express to her how much she means to me? How for my own process, journey, and eventual healing do I feel I have no regrets and enough been said? Though both of us have been generous with words I chose to write a letter. Yet for many months I didn’t feel the pressure of it. She seemed relatively healthy and I only wrote a bit. However in August there was a diagnosis of cancer and decision for hospice rather than treatment. The pressure moved to writing the letter and my desire to get it “perfect.” How I hate the part of my personality that puts pressure on myself to both overachieve and do things “perfectly.” So I worked on the letter in fits and starts. It was exhausting to write and to edit. Writing each section brought tears as did each edit. Yet finally I finished and it found its way downstairs and into her hands this week.

Having completed writing a letter of gratitude and thanks I leave you with some suggestions when writing and sending an important letter, especially for those leaning toward Type A.

  • It really is the thought that counts. As long as it is readable the receiver is not going to look at it with an editor’s eye. I have comma issues and Gini is a writer. Get over your grammar issues, finish and send it.
  • Allow yourself to use the process to work through your own feelings. Allow tears to flow thinking about saying goodbye whether goodbye is in months or years. Allow tears to flow about expressing things that someday you will not be able to. Assume you will not be able to easily identify all the emotions the process stirs up.
  • Express what you have learned from that person. We all want to know how our lives impact others and wonder if/how we will be missed.
  • Most relationships include humor and if you are able include this aspect of your relationship.
  • Consistent with your own beliefs, share your own source of peace, or if you share similar beliefs/faith this could be the most central source of comfort and strength you share with the person.
  • Get it done, put it on your list, and prioritize it with enough time to allow the emotional process of it.

Other posts referencing Gini and the gift of her friendship: A Childless Mother’s Day
Embracing a Space

Hospice is an agency that excels in helping individuals and their loved ones make end of life decisions with dignity and grace. Hospice of the North Shore

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Artistic Dabbling’s

I’m a bit Type A, I admit it openly. I desire to be creative however any artwork I attempt to create seems more like geometric figures and tends toward symmetry. In my world this does not equate to anything artistic. However I should note my mother likes geometric shapes and symmetry but she makes it work for her as she uses color and creates artistic quilts. However back to the typical life I lead which includes minimal output of artistic work. However this past week, with a Groupon in hand, I dabbled in producing some artwork.

My friend Tracy and I signed up for a one night class at The Paint Bar. It’s a class in which all the materials are provided and everyone paints the same picture, guided by an enthusiastic instructor. The instructor teased us “Type A’s” and perfectionists in the room. She asked us to take a deep breath and set that part of our personality aside for the night. So I did, mostly. We were guided through the colors and brushes to use and the general area to make each stroke. Our masterpiece would be named “Funky Boston Skyline.” The Prudential was placed, the John Hancock Tower, the weather tower, the Citgo sign, brownstone houses, trees, and of course the Charles River.

As I looked around the room everyone’s painting was similar yet we all created our own personal masterpieces. Tracy and I could not stop smiling. We actually had in our hands, by the end of this short class, pieces of art that we couldn’t just hang up but were excited to hang up. We left looking forward to another artistic adventure at this place. Taking an art class was on my 40 for 40 list. The goal was to dabble with my artistic and creative abilities. Now I look at my new art on the wall at work and smile when it is noticed and then glow when they learn I painted it. I don’t share that I painted it only because I’m a bit proud of my accomplishment (though I am) but I want everyone to try. I want other people to feel that they also can be artists with some guidance. I don’t want anyone to miss out on some artistic dabbling’s, even type A’s.

5,000,000,000 to 7,000,000,000 Neighbors

When I was in Junior High my sister and her boyfriend brought me on a trip to Boston. She was a music major and felt the need to get to a good music store. As this was pre-internet days there was not a music store at her fingertips. She convinced my parents she needed to drive to Boston. Looking back I think maybe I was supposed to be the chaperone for her and her boyfriend, however the other option is my mom wanted a day minus me. I think maybe there had been a grounding involved that she let up on for the benefit of both of us.

My sister was always good at bringing me on adventures. One of the highlights of that day was to go to the Museum of Science. We saw a science show, a display of the very dirty Boston Harbor (which now is surprisingly cleanish), and learned a tremendous amount of information about electricity, gravity, biology, etc. I remember clearly a digital display that indicated the population of the world. It was nearing 5 Billion people and I remember hypothesizing when it would happen. It occurred in 1987 to be exact. 5 Billion, a number too large to comprehend. To this day I can’t fathom it and now I can’t imagine 7 Billion, the number the population is estimated to have reached this week. I think of the space and where everyone fits. I get grumpy about the small space I live in and realize entire families live in what I consider my living/dining room. It helps me keep it in perspective, sometimes. However I do get overwhelmed in this global world and wonder who my neighbors are, beyond the ones I can holler to on my street. In this more connected world with internet and ability to reach out in new ways do I have more responsibility?

5 Billion, do you remember where you were when the population hit this milestone in 1987 and does it feel different now 24 years later with 7 Billion on this planet? There are 2 more billion people who reside on this world.

7 Billion Actions – Who and Where are these neighbors?

What does 7 Billion Look Like? – Courtesy MSNBC