The shaky pen of an 88-year-old formed words on lined paper. The grateful thoughts were carefully folded into an envelope and addressed by someone with younger hands.
It started with “Dear Niece and Family” as my uncle expressed joy and the comfort of receiving small gifts from his brother and sister’s children spread out from Oklahoma through the western states and up through the Pacific Northwest.
One of my cousins had rallied us together, requesting movies he had circled in a catalog. The entire list was purchased and shipped to a home that is not his own.
A place he shares with a woman who no longer remembers his name.
There may be several residents making their way through the halls. It doesn’t matter that there are caretakers in and out all day.
Hearing good news from a land far away is like drinking cold water when you are tired. Proverbs 25:25 NIRV
He is lonely.
His letter spoke of the pain he has watching his dear Irris forget him. The woman he has spent the last 58 years loving has slowly slipped into the past.
He spends his days watching movies.
Claudette Colbert, Roy Rogers, Bella Lugosi and Hoot Gibson act out stories on the small screen, making his days a little less mundane. No doubt, reminders of the active years and times that existed before most of us did.
My aunt and uncle never had children. It wasn’t because they didn’t try. They lived in an age where those things were not only more complicated, they weren’t discussed.
As a child of his brother, I (along with my cousins and siblings) have tried to show him love and attention. Life gets busy and it is so easy to forget yet he doesn’t seem to forget to let us know his love for us.
Isn’t it ironic? His bride can no longer reminisce with him. She can no longer show the love and care she has been known for in the past several decades, but he can.
He took time and effort to pen his gratitude for a simple act. A deed not even born from my own thoughtfulness, but one who took the time to include family in showering a lonely man with love.
Reconciliation is my word this year. One of the many meanings is to bring something back to the way it should be, especially regarding relationships.
I want to stop being so busy. So tied up in frivolous things that I can’t even send a letter to chase away the loneliness of a beloved uncle, even if only for a moment.
I have a drawer that holds a small handful of letters and cards that have enough meaning to treasure. It just grew by one more.
I’m reminding myself that there is a man in Oklahoma whose letterbox needs to grow too.
How about you, my friend? Is there someone who will be blessed by a kind word, a card or newsy letter from you today?
I have a feeling there is.