My mother passed in 2003.
In slowly cleaning out the accumulation of things collecting in our basement today I stumbled into the letter pictured above. It’s a draft, undated, and I’m not even sure who it’s to.
But it touched me.
Here’s what it says (lightly edited):
Just to let you know that we are still here.
Thank you for the photos you always send. It looks beautiful where you are.
Leo is not so well. According to the doctor, dementia the beginning of Alzheimer’s. he is not too bad but ask a lot of attention. He is 84 and we were 53 year married last year.
So we just go on, and make the best of it. That was one of the reason we moved to a smaller house.
The weather is [too] warm and not enough rain. I don’t like it.
Our son is fine and is for 18 years working [at] Microsoft. We don’t have to worry about him any more.
My dad turned 84 in 2000, and that’s when they would have been married for 53 years. I’d been at Microsoft for 18 years as of May in 2001, so that would put the letter sometime in the latter half of 2001 when my mom was 79. (Presumably before 9/11, since I would have expected that to be mentioned otherwise.) While I don’t know the recipient, it’s someone who didn’t speak Dutch, otherwise my mother would have more easily written in her native tongue. That this is a draft — marked by corrections and the like — is another indicator.
As you might expect the last line struck me. I’ve always been amazed how much my parents supported me over the years. It wasn’t without hiccups, some occasionally severe even, but they truly allowed me to become a self-reliant and independent adult. Being an only child I can only imagine how much they worried. I know I would.
That they could stop worrying was always in the back of my mind. It’s great to have that confirmed.
The letter paints a pretty accurate snapshot of what we life was like in 2001. My dad was on his decline, she was taking care of him, and her attitude was always “make the best of it”.
It was a meaningful find for me.