“If you are reading this, it means….”

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.

Photo by Hamlin Grange

Photo by Hamlin Grange

Married for decades, they were always together, these two.

Blog Photo - Jacqui and Paddy on holidaysOur 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.

Blog Photo - Garden harvest Basket tomatoes pumpkin

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.

Blog Photo - Garden harvest baskets with toamtoes peppers eggplants on table

“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:

Blog Photo - Jacqui letter ECU2

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:

Blog Photo - Jacqui letter final graph

“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.

Paddy and Daughter in earlier years

Paddy and Daughter in earlier years

But here’s what surprised her most: the letter was dated August 9, 1999.

Blog Photo - Jacqui letter date1

Paddy wrote it 14 years before – and put it in his briefcase, where he knew Jacqui would find it.

Blog Photo - Jacqui on verandah

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.

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41 Comments

Filed under A Good Home, Blessings, Canadians, Couples, Family Stories, Gardening, Garlic, Home, Inspiration, Love letters, Loving Acts, Vegetable Garden

41 responses to ““If you are reading this, it means….”

  1. 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.

  2. I teared up reading that. Speaks volumes about this person’s character and the wonderful life they shared. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tony

    This kind of relationship doesn’t just happen, its the result of a lifetime of working together.
    One Love

  4. 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.

  5. True love! Paddy showed such love and consideration for his wife while thanking her for her love and care.

  6. What a great idea, and what a kind and considerate man. My hat is off to him!

  7. What a great and moving story! Thanks for sharing the love. Hugs and blessings, Natalie 🙂

  8. 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!

  9. Truly touching. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Really very beautiful. True love. This story touched my heart. ❤️

  11. 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.

  12. That’s such a touching story. Really lovely. Thanks to you and Jacqui for sharing it.

  13. 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!

  14. Jim

    Thank you, Cynthia. Thank you very much. Merci.

  15. Jules Elder

    Thanks! This is very thoughtful and touching. It is an act of love that I’ll always remember.

  16. Margaret Mair

    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.

  17. 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

  18. I have some writing to do…

  19. Donna

    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.

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