While cleaning house the year I was preparing to move, I came across a box buried within another box, in the bottom of a chest. Not recognizing it, I assumed it was taken from my mother’s apartment when she passed away decades ago. I opened it up to discover greeting cards. There was a whole stack of them that my dad had given her over the course of many years. I proceeded to sit down and go through them noting how each was romantic using words like “my darling”, “you make my life so wonderful”. Phrases I had never heard my prosaic dad use! And that my mother would keep these baffled me because there relationship was anything but romantic. However, after reading through all of them I realized that this was perhaps the only way my dad could relay tender sentiments to her. I will never know as he, too, is long gone.

I have always kept a journal. They now take up 2+ shelves on my bookcase. These cards from dad made me wonder who would read my journals when I passed away. I have no children, so would I want a friend or maybe a stranger to read through my life? I don’t really know at the moment, but it got me to thinking about that old-fashioned form of writing that today no one seems to do. Yes, things in cyberspace seem to live forever, but is it the same as, say your child or spouse, discovering a journal detailing your life when you are no longer there with them?

After reading an article about a couple where the husband kept a journal that he wrote in only once a year on their anniversary, I cannot help but believe that the handwritten remains of a loved one would have more impact than anything else left behind. Remember the stories we’ve all read about Victorians and their love letters? How those treasured letters kept and reread gave solace to a loved one after the passing of its author. You can’t get that emotional feeling from a collection of tweets or even e-mails!

This week is Valentine’s Day. I would suggest that instead of a card or a bouquet of flowers, write your loved one a nice romantic letter and give a beautiful journal. You’ll not only surprise the receiver, but you will have sown the seeds that in a future day will bloom into the flowers of remembrance.

 

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