In his book, The New Man, Thomas Merton writes: “In the old days, on Easter night, the Russian peasants used to carry the blessed fire home from church. The light would scatter and travel in all directions through the darkness, and the desolation of the night would be pierced and dispelled as lamps came on in the windows of the farmhouses, one by one.”
In a similar way, we hope Scattered Love Letters will travel in all directions piercing and dispelling the darkness, loneliness and hostility that seem to be crowding the day.
We hope you enjoy reading these letters and we thank you for submitting many of them yourselves. As we share our hearts with each other may good portions – packed down, firmly shaken, and overflowing – fall into our laps and lives.
You taught me how to swim (remember – with spoon hands, not fork hands!), you taught me to drive when I was ten years old, you taught me how to do long division that one day in the car when we drove out to the lake to go swimming. You taught me how to pay bills when I didn’t understand how that worked. You taught me how to fix cars. So many things I know because of you, but even more than that, you taught me how to think, how to solve a problem, long before my college professor swore that if we learned nothing else in his class that we learned how to think.
You taught me that it didn’t matter if we were “real” family. You and I knew we were real family because we chose each other, and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought.
You were kind. And easy to talk to. People have asked me why I didn’t ask you for more details about things. I just let you tell me what you wanted to tell, just like you let me tell you what I wanted to tell. No more, no less.
I’m so glad the girls got to know you and spend time with you. They will have those memories forever, of a grandpa who put them first, had things planned for them, and had the best snacks ever.
I will never pick another tomato without thinking of you. Or see a hand-tied bouquet of flowers and not remember the bouquets you sent home that were tied with your orange ribbon.
When we’re gone, are we more than just the memories held closely by our loved ones? I know there are many memories you had that didn’t include us, but those experiences made you who you were. Just like the memories I have of you make me who I am.
You wouldn’t have known what to say if I would have said these words aloud to you, but I hope you can hear me now. This world was a better place with you in it, and I am a better person because you were here. And I miss you every day.
I am sorry you’re not feeling well. The Quakers have a practice called holding someone in the Light. For them, it’s a kind of visual prayer, in which with mind and heart you place someone dear in the Eternal’s love and illuminating presence.
I’m doing this for you. I picture you being bathed in a warm, restorative light. Your body moves freely in this sparkle and spirit and in my heart I sense you will feel better soon. It may not happen suddenly and miraculously, but it will happen, I’m sure.
And when you rise from bed, I’ll be there to help you stand, to make you hot soup and cornbread, to run your bath, and dry and oil your back. I’ll stay with you as long as you need because I want you well again.
My, you look lovely surrounded in this celestial light, as lovely as an angel.
Loving you deeply,
REST IN PEACE
MILES THE CAT
October 2005 to March 2018
Few ever live up to their namesake. But Miles, you did.
And so much more.
You were cool, suave, but never pretentious. Confidence followed in your paw steps. Maybe that’s the mark of a fine cat—or any cat—but you were far from being any cat. In all that confidence there was never an air of indifference or superiority. You defied the typical definition of what it meant to be feline. It was evident in your grace, your dignity, and your attempts at humor that always kept our attention.
You sought that attention because you knew it was yours, in a house filled with love.
We were always yours. You owned our hearts in a way few people will ever have the fortune to know. You mesmerized two little girls with your playfulness, and it is certain that your life will continue to warm the memories of their childhood for years to come.
Handsome, sleek, debonair; you were all these, and will live on in our memory as the dashing cat who could own any room he entered. It was because of one thing.
At the very center of you was your heart, overflowing with love, pronounced in your unending affections. Its beat was heavy in the rhythm of your purr. It endures as a reminder that, in our hearts, you will live forever.