My father and mother met in the college bookstore over five decades ago, and have been in love ever since.
A typical end of the day involves my father coming home from work, pouring a martini for himself and a chardonnay for my mom, and then the two of them sitting and sharing their days. They are two people who truly exemplify love.
Growing up, we were always taught to be kind, respectful and thoughtful. But we were also taught to be private.
Whatever issues – ups and downs – we had stayed within the family. We didn’t air our dirty laundry. That’s just the way we were.
Which makes it that much more challenging for me to say:
My dad has cancer.
He was diagnosed last summer, had surgery, and is now in seven weeks of daily radiation. His attitude is amazing, but it’s a sad and scary time for me and my siblings. So much has been given to me, and now I feel helpless and out of control.
This week, I will be writing my “love letter” to my dad.
So much in relationships goes unsaid. We don’t take the opportunity to put into words our feelings. This week is my opportunity to thank my dad for all he has done for me – and the world – and to tell him I love him.
How about YOU?
Can you take this opportunity to go deep, be vulnerable, and share your feelings? Write a loved one, family member, friend, a mentor. And if you don’t have someone to write to, write to a stranger (see below). Maybe you’re dating someone and it’s time to say “I love you.” Maybe it’s time to say you’re sorry.
Writing my letter to my dad will be hard. It takes courage to reflect and to honestly share our deepest feelings. But when we push our comfort zones and get real, the most beautiful things happen.
Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is among the most remarkable figures of contemporary culture. At a young age, she contracted polio, which left her right leg underdeveloped. A decade later, she was in a serious traffic accident, which resulted in multiple body fractures. While bedridden, Kahlo made her first strides in painting and went on to become one of the most influential painters in modern art.
In 1927, she met the painter Diego Rivera, whose work she’d come to admire and who became her mentor. In 1929, one of art history’s most notoriously tumultuous marriages commenced. Her bond with Diego was one of transcendental passion and immense love. One of the gifts of that relationship were the love letters that went back and forth.
Nothing compares to your hands, nothing like the green-gold of your eyes. My body is filled with you for days and days. you are the mirror of the night. the violent flash of lightning. the dampness of the earth. The hollow of your armpits is my shelter. my fingers touch your blood. All my joy is to feel life spring from your flower-fountain that mine keeps to fill all the paths of my nerves which are yours.”
When was the last time that we took the time to write a love letter?
This week … LET’S DO IT.
Go old school. Buy some beautiful paper, a stamp, a good pen.
Go deep. Really be truthful, vulnerable. Pretend that this is the last, best opportunity to say these things to this person.
Before you write, think about the kind of things you would want to read if someone was writing to you. What would be most meaningful to you?
Write a letter to someone who will not expect it. Surprise them with your unsolicited statement of how much you love and appreciate them.
Write a love letter to yourself. Literally address it to yourself, and tell yourself everything you know to be true. Give yourself a written hug.
Write a letter to a stranger. Visit More Love Letters.
Think about how you want to deliver your letter. Can you hand-deliver it and read it out loud?
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