On the second Sunday in May we celebrate our Mothers. It’s the day we show appreciation for all the little things and big things that our moms do on a daily basis, the things they do that make our lives better. And celebrate we should!
Mothers have one of the hardest, multitasking jobs on earth. On any given day you have to fill the role of counsellor, chef, chauffeur, maid, event coordinator, referee, teacher, head cheerleader, and even warden! (Just to name a few).
And in return, for one day of the year, you might get breakfast in bed, not have to cook or clean, and receive lovely handmade cards and gifts. Totally worth it!
But there is something that you should do on Mother’s Day; you should reflect on all of the amazing, inspiring, and pure joyous moments your children have brought to your life. And then you should write them a letter. A letter that affirms all of their best qualities, tells them why you are so very proud, how they bring joy into your life, and what you hope and dream for them in their futures. This is the real definition of a Soul Letter! There is no one else in your life that you will have the same deep rooted, almost inexplicable, unconditional love for, and that person both needs and deserves to hear what is in your heart and soul.
Whether your children are toddlers, teenagers, or grown adults with children of their own, this is the time to write them a Soul Letter, and I suggest making it an annual tradition! If your child is too young to read and understand a letter, then perhaps you can store them in a special place until they are old enough to truly enjoy them.
Our young people today are under a tremendous amount of stress and a lot of it is hidden behind a smile that they put on just for us. A hand written letter from you is a gift that they can take out and read in private any time they are feeling low or are doubting themselves. There truly is no better gift that you can give them.
Our children are born with the instinct to want to please their parents and they never truly outgrow that basic need. Our adult children need to hear that we are proud of them and support them just as much as our teenagers! They need affirmation that they are doing a great job in this busy, crazy life, and that they still bring joy to your life.
I’d like to share with you a story about a woman I’ll call Sarah…
Sarah is 49 years old, is married, and has three grown children and a career. Her and her family live in the same city as her parents but because of everybody’s busy lives they only get together about once a month or so, to celebrate birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Sarah has a good relationship with her parents but they are not outwardly affectionate people and most conversations revolve around the grandchildren’s activities or what is trending in the news. Sarah is a great mother, she is involved in her adult children’s lives, and is now enjoying being a new grandmother. But like so many women today, she suffers with self-doubt, guilt, and worry. Sometimes she feels like she just doesn’t make a difference any more, and to top off her problems, three months ago her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Sarah is now visiting her mom every weekend and has even taken some holiday time from work, but she confided in me that she wanted to be able to have meaningful conversations when she was with her mom. I told her that it was never too late and that she should express what was in her heart but she was afraid that her mother wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about emotional stuff and didn’t want to add to her discomfort by forcing the conversation. Instead she sat beside her mother’s bedside and talked about the kids, and her work, and basically just tried to fill the silence.
Obviously this was a very difficult time for Sarah and the rest of her family, but the anticipatory grief and regret were building inside Sarah by the minute and yet she was still too nervous to bring up the subject of death or talk openly about her fears when she was with her mother. I urged Sarah to write her mother a Soul Letter and she agreed that she should do it but never quite found the time.
Approximately six months after her diagnosis, Sarah’s mother lost her battle with cancer. Sarah had missed her chance to tell her mom how much she loved and admired her, how she treasured so many moments from her own childhood and that her children had benefited so much from her mother’s patience, guidance, and support. The day after her death, Sarah’s father gave her a letter that her mother had written for her. It was a Soul Letter and in it was everything that Sarah needed to hear from her mother, the love, respect, admiration, pride, and joy. Her mother also explained that she was leaving this letter because she knew how hard the past months had been on Sarah and she didn’t want to upset her by getting all mushy. This is so painfully ironic.
Sarah confided in me that she was eternally grateful that her mother had taken the time and had the strength to write her the letter, and that she had reread it over and over during those first few weeks after her mom passed. She knew that she would always treasure this special final gift from her mom but at the same time regretted not finding the time to write a letter herself. “You were right” she told me, “I missed my chance”.
Sarah was very sad that her and her mother had both been too afraid of upsetting the other to share what was in their hearts while they had the chance, but she will always have her mother’s letter to comfort her.
Scenes like these unfold across the world every day, in fact one of the Top 5 regrets of the dying is that they hadn’t expressed what was in their heart with their loved ones. In addition to the millions of deaths every year caused by disease, there are hundreds of thousands of people who die suddenly as a result of an accident or crime. After a sudden death, the family is shocked, devastated, and full of regret for not having the chance to say goodbye to their loved one.
This is why I created the Soul Letters Workbook and website. I want the world to learn how to communicate what is 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; and I want the world to do it now and not wait until they are dying to share this special gift.
So to all my fellow mothers around the world, have a beautiful and joy filled Mother’s Day, but also, take the time to share what is in your heart and soul with your children. Write them a Soul Letter, the greatest gift of all.