The Letter in the Cupboard
James, my client, grew up in The Netherlands in the 1950s. His father was in diplomatic work and his mother, Teresa, was a full-time homemaker. His family prized intellectual pursuits, music and the arts. It was a stable time for the family and James and his siblings were strongly encouraged to perfect themselves and make their mark in the world.
After Teresa’s death in 2013, when the children were cleaning out her home, the following letter was discovered in a kitchen cupboard. It was written some years before her passing. James finds these reflections from his mother both poignant and touching.
Because she was a reserved person, seldom sharing her own feelings and thoughts, seeing her thoughts on paper has been profound for him. He says he experiences his mother in a new way and that he feels he knows her better now.
James translated the letter into English and agreed to have it shared in hopes it might be of benefit and inspiration to others.
Just a few words for all of you.
It is a comfortable feeling for me to know that this letter rests in my cabinet as my final message to you. Years ago I began to write such a letter. It was rewritten from time to time. And here is the latest version, because the most recent version required an update.
At this time, your dad and I are looking forward to a wonderful trip to the United States to visit our eldest son. But every trip has inherent risks – so here is the most recent update.
In recent years all of you have found your definite place and destination in this life and I am very happy about that. Your happiness is ultimately also my own. If anything were to happen to me which would take away my ability to speak or bid adieu to you all, do understand that I am prepared for this and do not grieve over me.
Of course I will regret having to leave you behind but my faith in the hereafter tells me that this parting of ways is not forever and in the spirit I will remain with you all.
I thank you for your love, friendship and trust. It is with great joy that I always have taken care of you. Especially when you were little and constantly needed my help. Those were the “golden years” in our hometown.
Now, the moment has come to the leave you this message as adults. Please remember–
- Give everybody space to be him or herself
- Do not force your own opinion on others
- Be good to each other
- Life is so short and “we are like leaves in the wind”
- The command of love is our greatest prayer
- Pass on your good fortune to others following the spirit of the poem that I sent to you four years ago
I wish that all of you will be given many happy years, each to his or her own needs and possibilities.
God bless you all.
What a gracious blessing Teresa left for her children—affirming her love and leaving them with her quiet guidance. It’s never too early or too late to write such a letter. I am pausing to think about what I might say—and where I might leave it to be discovered…h-m-m-m…
What thoughts would you share with loved ones?