Our friend Jacqui phoned.
“Are you going to be there in a few minutes? I’m coming for a visit.”
I smiled. It was almost exactly what Paddy used to say. Minutes later, he and his wife Jacqui would be at our door.
Married for decades, they were always together, these two.
Our family loved their visits.
But Paddy died from cancer earlier this year.
We wondered if Jacqui would continue the impromptu visits. I was very pleased with her call.
As usual, I let her in through the kitchen door, and we hugged.
We sat at the harvest table.
It was the same table that just last October was laden with produce from the garden — including the lone Jamaican pumpkin that grew from a seedling that Paddy and Jacqui had given us that spring.
“Come for your share of the pumpkin harvest,” we’d phoned them, laughing.
When they came, we handed them a bag filled with herbs, garlic, tomatoes and half of the Jamaican pumpkin.
Now, 8 months later, Jacqui and I sat together at the table for the first time without Paddy.
We sipped our tea.
She’d been going through Paddy’s belongings, she said. Deciding what to give away, and identifying matters that needed her immediate attention.
She opened Paddy’s briefcase.
She saw an envelope addressed “To My Wife”.
She ripped it open and started to read:
“My dearest Jacqui.
So faithful and true!
… Without you, I would have had nothing. It was due to your sacrifices that we survived. You gave so much and demanded so little. Thank you for being so much to me over the years….”
“I want you to read it,” Jacqui said now, handing me the long white envelope. She had torn it open at one end, but the writing on the front was clear: “To My Wife”, it said.
I reached into the envelope, pulled out the letter.
I got goosebumps.
Paddy’s letter to Jacqui ends with this paragraph:
“If you are reading this, it means that I’ve passed on. Don’t be sad. Our life together was good! Although I won’t be here in body, I will always be at your side in spirit.
“Good bye my love!”
Moved by his love for her and their daughter Donna — and by this considerate act – Jacqui cried.
But here’s what surprised her most: the letter was dated August 9, 1999.
Paddy wrote it 14 years before – and put it in his briefcase, where he knew Jacqui would find it.
The impact on Jacqui was so positive that on a subsequent visit, as we sat on the verandah, she agreed to let me share excerpts from the letter.
The lesson here:
There’s no need to wait. You can write that letter to someone you love right now.
41 thoughts on ““If you are reading this, it means….””
Beautiful and touching story Cynthia. It sounds like they had a strong and faithful love. Sadly, I’ve known few examples of that in my family and life. Thanks for sharing.
They had a lovely relationship, Brad, and spending time with them always inspired our family. Thanks for your response.
I teared up reading that. Speaks volumes about this person’s character and the wonderful life they shared. Thanks for sharing!
You’re most welcome.
This kind of relationship doesn’t just happen, its the result of a lifetime of working together.
Thanks so much, Tony.
Cynthia, what a beautiful story. How deeply he must have loved his wife and how enduring. My father passed away this year, after 65 years of marriage, he loved my mother devotedly to the end. How rare that seems to be.
How wonderful that Jacqui’s husband had the foresight to write that letter.
Condolences on your father’s death, first of all, my blogger-friend. and congrats to your parents on such a long and loving marriage.
Yes, I too, was taken with the letter that Paddy wrote to Jacqui.
Thanks for your response.
Touching post…. Thanks
Glad you like it. thanks for replying
True love! Paddy showed such love and consideration for his wife while thanking her for her love and care.
Right-o, Clare. He sure did.
What a great idea, and what a kind and considerate man. My hat is off to him!
Mine too. How thoughtful, eh?
What a great and moving story! Thanks for sharing the love. Hugs and blessings, Natalie 🙂
Thank you, Natalie.
How emotional Jacqui must have been to find such a beautiful letter from paddy. Sounds like Paddy was a very- compassionate man and loved Jacqui very much. They must have shared a lovely life together!
He was a humble, compassionate man and he loved her very much, Michael. You’re so right. They were such a team.
Truly touching. Thank you for sharing this.
You are welcome.
Really very beautiful. True love. This story touched my heart. ❤️
Thanks, Susan. I’m thankful for your reply. Glad the story touched your heart.
That is a goosebump story, and how lovely that Jacqui shared it with you and with us. The letter reminds me of one we found that my grandfather wrote to his sweetheart during World War One. Fortunately, my grandfather survived, and his sweetheart became my grandmother, but the letter was still very poignant to read.
Thanks for sharing this, Gallivanta. It had such an impact on me that I wanted Jacqui to share it, but was afraid to ask. However, she immediately said Yes.
Even lovelier; it seems that he not only wrote the letter, but acted on that love all those years they were together.
That’s such a touching story. Really lovely. Thanks to you and Jacqui for sharing it.
Thank you, MT.
Oh my goodness, you had me from the first sentence! What a beautiful tribute to love!!! Thanks so much for sharing this story and telling it so well!
Thank you, Lori.
One of those stories that made me sit up and take notice. So kind of Jacqui to let me share it.
I’m wishing you a good day.
Thank you, Cynthia. Thank you very much. Merci.
You’re welcome, Jim.
Hope you have a lovely day.
Thanks! This is very thoughtful and touching. It is an act of love that I’ll always remember.
Thanks, Jules. I appreciate your reply. I hope your summer goes well.
What a beautiful story. And it speaks to the importance of saying and writing those words of love, words that will live on in the heart of the loved one and comfort them when you are no longer there. Thanks to you and Jacqui for sharing.
I will pass on your thanks to Jacqui, Margaret. Thanks very much for replying.
I have a feeling that Paddy often told Jacqui how much he cared, but for her to find the letter that he wrote so many years later … well, that’s what true love and romance are all about. They were both very lucky, even though one has passed on. And yes, a reminder to tell people now how much we think of them. Lovely story. Jeanne
Thanks, Jeanne. Such a loving couple indeed.
I have some writing to do…
I hear you.
Thank you so very much for this lovely tribute to my dearest Daddy and Mummy! I am the proud daughter of these two wonderful people.
How lovely to hear from you, Donna. I never tired of hearing your parents talk about you. Such love and pride. Thanks for replying, and best wishes.