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.
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.