As you know this hasn't been an easy time for us. Thank you for all of the phone messages, e-mails, prayers, cards, friendship, and support. I am just now starting to make my way through them so please forgive the slow response. I don't even know what to start writing about but just feel the need to write. One of the things my dad urged me to do while he was in the hospital was to write. When we made our first trip to the hospital, I brought a small black sketch book/journal as a gift for my dad. Instead of taking it, he urged me to keep it and to start writing and that's what I did. I wrote in the hospital. I wrote on the train. I wrote in the airport. I wrote whenever I started feeling too overwhelmed. I wrote things down when I felt too scattered and wanted to remember things. I scrawled out angry pleas and worries. Memories. Lists of things to do.
I have gone through periods in my life when I have dedicated myself to journaling...when living in Japan as a young teacher, during my pregnancy, while waiting for Camille's referral....but I have never been good about keeping a daily journal. I just don't have the time, energy, and dedication to doing it. And in the past whenever I attempt to write every day, even just simple observations, I inevitably feel guilty for not following through on my resolution. My dad was good about keeping a journal/sketchbook with him at all times. He was also very good at letter writing. I didn't know until my grandmother's death several years ago that she and my father exchanged letters on a weekly basis. Letters, like journals are quickly becoming antiquated and forgotten forms of communication and documentation.
Some of my most valuable possessions are letters. I have a big box of paper-thin airmail letters from the first year of dating Adam. Letters from my Dad, my grandmothers, and other important people in my life. I have kept all those letters. Adam teases me about this pack rat habit, but reading those letters brings up lots of emotions. The day my dad died I was cleaning off the kitchen counter and found one of his last letters to me. Seeing his handwriting and realizing I wouldn't get anymore letters from him really hit me in my gut. And while at home, my sisters and I started going through albums my dad had assembled. A very random mix of things he had stuck into albums over the years...photos, announcements, programs, drawings, and letters. So strange to see my letters to my dad. I always felt guilty about not writing more to him. After starting this blog, he always told me how much he appreciated it because he was sometimes able to learn more about our lives through blog entries than in our frenetic phone calls with kids hanging on me and my dad's radio going in the background.
Writing is an important thing and I plan to keep on doing it. I have that black book in my purse at all times. When Adam leaves in a few weeks we will be facing the longest separation since that first year of long distance dating. It is so nice to now have e-mail, cheaper phone access, skype and all of the other fancy improvements that have come along, but I also hope that we will be able to keep a written connection. There is something so powerful and emotional about those good old fashioned letters and those simple black books.