When I hear stories about people, usually mothers, who show great courage and strength at end of life by writing letters or cards for their children, I am deeply moved. These stories usually appear first at a local level but as our ability to share information with the world has grown, the audience for these stories has also extended with some reaching a global audience.
These letters are what I call Soul Letters, and I believe that there is no better gift that you can leave for your loved ones. What bothers me about these stories is that they are “news” at all. It is my dream that the frequency of these occurrences grow to the point that it is just another everyday incident, so common that it is no longer sensationalized across the Internet. That is the inspiration for this social enterprise!
I want the world to learn how to communicate what is in their hearts;
I want people to understand the importance of leaving a tangible memory for their loved ones;
I want everyone to have the joy of receiving this type of letter;
I want the world to do it now and not wait until they are dying to share this special gift.
My personal connection with this mission started in 2008. I had been feeling weak and exhausted for several weeks and ended up in the emergency department on the recommendation of my family doctor. He suspected that I had possibly experienced a mild heart attack and advised that the quickest way to have a proper diagnosis would be through the hospital ER. After a battery of heart and blood tests, a chest x-ray was ordered and then a CT scan. The ER doctor on call that afternoon just happened to be a pulmonary (lung) specialist and after reviewing the x-ray and scan he bluntly advised me that I had a 3 ½ cm tumor on my right lung. When we asked if he thought it was cancerous he said “what else would you expect it to be, you’ve been a smoker for over 25 years.” In a follow up appointment in his office the following week he said that he would need to biopsy the tumor to determine if it was lung cancer or lymphoma. Over the next three months, I had three inconclusive biopsies, a referral to a thoracic surgeon, and then finally a P.E.T. scan which came back negative for cancer. The tumor turned out to be a benign cyst and I had it surgically removed six months after the original misdiagnosis of lung cancer.
During those months when I believed that I had lung cancer and that my time here was almost up, I decided to write letters to both of my parents, my sister, my husband, and my two sons. When I finally received a correct diagnosis 3 months later, I modified the letters a bit and decided to give them to my loved ones that Christmas. It had been a very difficult year for all of us and everyone appreciated the letters I had wrote; but my youngest son, who was twelve years old at the time, treasured his letter more than anyone. Even now at age 20, he still pulls out that letter and reads it. He says that when he is feeling down or doubting himself it helps him remember that he is loved and respected for his unique qualities and that he has always brought me joy and pride. I can’t think of a better gift that a parent can give their child.
The satisfaction and peace that writing those letters brought me helped me to come to terms with my “cancer” experience. I am grateful that I was driven to write those letters for my loved ones and that I was able to stick around and see the joy that the letters brought to them.
Now it brings me great satisfaction when I am able to share my passion for writing letters with others. It’s something that I have loved for over 40 years and I cherish the moments when I am able to witness the joy, gratitude, and sense of peace that a Soul Letter brings to both the writer and the recipient.