My daughter made a request. She asked me to handwrite a series of letters that she could read on her birthdays after I have died. How could I possibly refuse? But it is more heart-breaking than I ever imagined. I’ve just completed the first letter. I purchased some stationery for the task. I didn’t think that letters as important and as significant as this should be written on the paper that I use for the printer. Instead I am writing on paper that has come from Smythson’s (Established 1887) in Bond Street London. It is form of communication that I have neglected since the birth of e-mail and texting, and I have forgotten the stops and starts and the need to keep my handwriting both legible and coherent.
I wept as I wrote because I began to imagine this world that I am in at the moment without me. I so want to share my daughters life. She has brought forward her wedding to October to ensure that I can attend but I fear that her wish to have children and for me to be around to see them might not be possible. It breaks my heart to think of the grief and pain that she will experience when I die.
It is strange to write in the present moment for an unknown time in the future. Will she be reading it next year or will it be in ten years time.? I don’t take anything for granted anymore. Life changes fast, it changes in an instant. I always thought, hoped, that I would die before my daughter and if things go to plan this will now definitely be the case but whereas previously it was all in the abstract – something to put off – it is now incredibly real and possibly quite close.
She wants a series of letters and intends to open them one at a time, one year after the next, on her birthday. I did suggest that she might be tempted to read them all, but she thinks that this would spoil it. I have got lovely pale cream paper and am writing with different coloured felt tip pens. I’ve stuck some pictures on it and drawn a red heart in the corner. At least they look cheerful.
So #1 completed, let’s hope that it’s not read in the too near future and then I can apply myself to write some more.