Handwritten letters are a rare commodity, they indicate investment. Email is “permanent” in its own way. Our electronic messages are easy to keep and to search in huge volumes. But emails are not tangible and enduring in the same way those old notes are. We don’t print emails and display them on our desks, refrigerators with the same meaning as a handwritten letter or note. The physical notes are much more memorable.
While Ronnie has been sifting through garage items, my day’s have been spent sitting in closets opening storage containers. These storage containers are filled with greeting cards, letters and legal documents unorganized from years past. The process is time consuming and until yesterday seemed never ending. I finally conquered the task and three file cabinets became one.
Mounds of legal paperwork made me furious, it reminds me of the children that attempted to destroy Ronnie and myself. I kept it all. The legal paperwork will continue to be an emotional and tangible part of our lives, it will leave Applegate Drive with us. While sitting in the closet sorting and binding hundreds of legal documents, I realized after 11 years the wounds are still open. They have not closed. The pain is less, but still exists. It was more emotional reading through letters between lawyers and District Attorneys, than it was organizing the medical papers from when I was stabbed. My family is still in taters.
Most shocking was that I still had a few items related to Mandi, they are gone now except for one letter Mandi wrote my father about 5 or so years ago. When I visited Illinois my father gave it to me. It was funny when he gave me the original letter. Mandi’s enduring words about her fabulous life written on yellow legal paper, how fitting. When my biological father handed me the letter, he tore off her address on the bottom. I think in his own way he was trying to protect me. He did not want me to know where she lived. I chuckled to myself, I already knew where she lived.
My most precious discovery were the handwritten letters from Lance. I came across a letter Lance wrote in 2004, he was only 15 years old. This particular letter Lance wrote was one of encouragement. In the letter Lance with his young and innocent mind was trying to encourage me. Ronnie and I were in the middle of the “gun case”, Lance was concerned and angry at his brother and sister. In the letter, one can sense his fear of not knowing what would happen to his parents. Even with his fear of the unknown he was trying to encourage me to stay positive.
Lance wrote Ronnie and I so many hand written letters over the years. I have and still will save them all, even the small post-it-notes he would leave on my nightstand or kitchen counter. All of Lances letters were written with love. Every card Lance gave us would have a long special greeting, hand written in the entire blank space. These are special and forever treasured. Knowing he took the time out and put pen to paper vs. an email is priceless.
Now that the paper purging stage of our move is 90% over, I hope the rest is not so time consuming. Now we need to continue working on releasing material possessions. We have sold, gave away and donated many items but we are far from being completed. I don’t need much anymore to feel complete or happy. In the past I surrounded myself with “stuff”. Handwritten letters, my husband, good friends and memories will suffice.