I just finished reading a memoir written by a military wife whose husband left her a “just in case letter.” Tragically, the worse occurred and she claimed the single thing that allowed her to move forward without feeling like she was betraying their love was his insistence in the letter that she live.
Soldiers are clearly in a lane of their own and words cannot convey the depth of my gratitude, but shouldn’t we common folk have some sort of worse-case-scenario plan in place too?
My husband and I are both airline crew so our mode of transport is statistically safer than those navigating rush hour commutes daily. Still, with every take-off and landing, shouldn’t I indulge in the peaceful knowledge that my message will be there — waiting?
I adore the spoken word, but when given the choice I clamor for the written format. Sure, I can chatter days-on-end about trivia, but when something is weighty I prefer the perspective of the page. In conversations of any magnitude I torture myself, second-guessing every last utterance at 3:00 AM when sleep mocks me. The ability to edit, walk away, circle back, delete, reevaluate, polish and tweak a tangled compilation of letters is akin to decorating, cleaning, stocking up on Champagne, and procuring the quaintest flutes before inviting guests into your home.
As Mark Twain said: “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” And so it is, when the occasion involves matters of the heart, I will always reach for a pad of paper or fire up my trusty laptop…