The handwriting immediately made me choke up. Her beautiful calligraphy stretched across the page in perfect lines. It was short and sweet. The notes for me, and each of my daughters pulled from an envelope marked “Passing On Papers.” After my Aunt Suzy’s death, her husband found them in her nightstand. My mom waited until we arrived for our annual trip to the Oregon coast to give them to us in person.
Earlier this year, when my aunt passed away, several months before anyone anticipated with her health challenges, I was struck reeling with grief and regret. I had left an important acknowledgement left unsaid. Left unmarked on my to-do list is the letter I intended to write expressing gratitude to Suzy for helping my youngest daughter, Sophia.
Now reading her letter to me instead, which she began by calling me her sparkly niece, the tears rolled relentlessly down my cheeks. Her words washed peace and comfort over me. It was as if she knew I had sprained a part of my heart with my regret. It was as if she was whispering in my ear – passing on to me the peace she felt knowing that I would take good care of my parents. Suzy reminded me of how she has always seen me – as someone much greater than I see in myself.
I cried looking heavenward in appreciation. I realized this could now be the closing of this chapter between us.
It reminded me of the wise words my coach often recites for me about never knowing when the story will end. I finally understood. Looking back at past heartaches – the biggest being my divorce – I see that the story of my divorce continues to be written each day. My marriage may have ended but the story keeps unfolding.
Suzy’s greatest gift to me is now realized in the reminder that what I once thought was an ending was merely a pause. A pause I needed to pull away from the hardness of grief before I could fully take in the warmth, love, and wisdom she left for me.