The twelve and the letters
Hello, Peaceful Readers. Do you remember the time when I wore my slippers to my son Logan’s school convocation? Well, fast forward to this fall. On Saturday I wore my underwear inside out. Ha. Then on Tuesday, I forgot to put on my deodorant. Thankfully, the high temperature was in the 40s—unusually cold for this time of year in Texas—so there was no embarrassment or stinkiness. Translation: Frankie Ann is writing in her head and is therefore distracted. This was actually a very good thing—the indicator that it was time to whip out my laptop and get to it. Writing fires me up.
Closure by letters
Part of The Healing Journey for me during this chapter has been about achieving closure by taking care of business—not leaving things mostly done—but making sure the work was all done. For me, I achieved this closure by writing letters. These therapeutic letters aren’t mailed; they’re written for healing—my healing.
I wrote letters to 12 different people, including myself. That may sound strange, but it was important.
Up, down and sideways
I wrote different kinds of letters. Some were anger letters. You may have read the two anger letters I included in this blog. One was to my deceased sister-in-law, Sadistic Shelly. The other one was to my dad. I wrote a Letter of Gratitude to my dad too. That one surprised me. It was great and very healing. I also wrote some Good-bye Letters, which blend an anger letter with a Letter of Gratitude. They cover the highs and the lows of a relationship in one letter. And the letter to myself was a forgiveness letter. I’d never written one of those before. It was a beautiful, healing step.
Since I had plenty to say about my ex-husband Greg in the 8-part Grieving Divorce post, I figured I was done with him. But then I found myself reading and re-reading that particular post again and again and again. It was clear that I wasn’t done with Greg emotionally-speaking, as much as I wanted to think that I was. Done, that is. So I wrote an anger letter to him. It didn’t take me long at all… less than an hour. After that, I knew I was done with that whole chapter. The expressing was done. The closure was done. It felt good. Really good.
Here’s the thing. Writing about someone is not remotely the same as writing to someone. (I found this to be true about my mother-in-law as well.)
About vs. to
Why such a difference between those two little words—about and to?
About tells a story. It’s a little third-person-like, even when it’s about me and my life. It’s a narrative. It’s written for my Peaceful Readers, not to the somewhat-guilty or extremely-guilty party, as the case may be.
To, on the other hand, reminds me of an arrow shot at a very specific target, with extreme velocity and force. (I’m envisioning Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games….) My anger letter to Greg was directed right at him, even though he’ll never see it. It was very colorful and included comments like “No way, pig,” “…you self-absorbed sponge,” and much, much more.
A different kind of letter
Did I write anger letters to my in-laws, the sociopaths? You betcha.
After I wrote my anger letter to my father-in-law, I thought I was done with this closure/therapeutic letter stuff. I started doing my Happy Dance—and before I could spin around the first time—two people popped suddenly into my mind and I thought Really? Them too? Good grief. It was two people from high school: My best friend Shay and my older-than-me boyfriend. Ugh. I woke up early about a week-and-a-half later and I wrote those last two Good-bye Letters. They were fairly short—half a page each—and didn’t take long to write at all.
Then I immediately wrote The Forgiveness Letter to myself. Short, but powerful. Check it out.
Letter to me
September 9, 2018
From last summer to this January, I wrote a blog series called Grieving. I learned a lot. I dissected my childhood, youth years and first marriage. I dug deeply and discovered many things about my history and myself.
I understand why I was the way I was, why I made all those mistakes, why I tolerated all that bad behavior. I understand it all now. I understand. Finally. Thanks be to God!
It’s been a long road.
I forgive myself for all the mistakes I made. I can’t undo the things I did and said and the things I didn’t do and didn’t say. I can’t change the past. But I can embrace the present with joy and peace….
I’ll share the ending of that letter with you in an upcoming post. The ending is about the word why.
Waiting, dreaming, praying
After I wrote The Forgiveness Letter to myself, I paused in my mind and thought Is there anybody else? I waited. And I waited. I knew I still needed to write my Letter of Gratitude to my mom, but I wasn’t ready to do that one yet. I was still mad at her.
No one else came to my mind. It was over. Almost.
Less than a month later, I wrote my Letter of Gratitude to my mom. I like how it turned out. I prayed and asked God to help me with it. He kept bringing sweet memories to my mind. He helped me—big time. I’m keeping that letter close to my heart. Here’s the ending.
Letter of Gratitude to Mom
October 3, 2018
…I am grateful for how your life taught me that the simple things are the special things—like picnics, singing, Christmas ornaments, Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake and eating dinner at the table. These things bring me great joy today.
Most of all, I am extremely grateful for your faithful visits with Logan. When he was little, you came to our house every Monday so I could grocery shop and run errands. What a blessing for us both. As he got older, you took him to the library to check out books every week. This helped build his love of reading. You were an important part of his life. Thank you for caring about him and being good to him.
When I think of you, the word I think of is faithful. You were faithful in taking me to church, you were faithful in working to take care of me and you were faithful in spending time with Logan.
I had a dream about you on Sunday. You came to me and gave me a flower. It was very pretty. I felt like it was a birthday gift to me. Thank you for thinking about me.
Two days after I wrote the Letter of Gratitude to my mom, I wrote this in my journal:
Friday, October 5, 2018
As I went to sleep, I forgave Isobel and my mom. I am Choosing Peace.
This part may surprise you, Peaceful Readers. Twice in my adult life, when I strapped on my jet pack and rocketed forward on The Healing Journey—shedding bad habits, becoming more courageous, etc.—I had a friend disappear. I wrote about silent break-ups at the beginning of this post.
Here’s the reality. Friends are drawn to us—and vice versa—for various reasons. When we change for the better, not all of our friends are happy about it because it changes the status quo. It says loud and clear: “I’m different now. What about you?” Sometimes my friends preferred the sicker Frankie Ann as opposed to the new, healthier me. The old me was more compatible with them. I get that.
Anyway, you may find, as you walk forward on The Healing Journey, that not all of your friends want to keep walking with you. Sometimes one of them will walk away. That’s okay. I’m not going to get into the “If you were a real friend” banter. That’s counterproductive. I just wanted to warn you about this possibility.
I thought Isobel was a friend for life and she was actually a friend for a season. It was a very intense, important, life-changing season, and I’m thankful that she was a part of it. Yes, I grieved the loss of her friendship. I was really disappointed. But God helped me to understand the end of our friendship by asking me a very important question through the still, small voice—a question about Isobel and my mom.
“How are these two alike?”
In other words, “There is a major problem here and you need to see it. You need to know what it is—with confidence. You need to acknowledge it so you can be at peace about this ending.” That question—“How are these two alike?”—revealed the answer I needed. It shined the light on the truth, which made this ending easier to understand and to embrace.
Speaking of endings, my mom died in February, less than a month after I finished Saying Good-bye, the last post in this series—or so I thought.
Peaceful Readers, let me tell you somepin.
This little segment from one of my favorite posts in the first series will explain that last sentence.
Our son Logan used cute expressions when he was a preschooler. One of my favorites went like this: “Let me tell you somepin.” In other words, “Mommy, listen to me.” He said that all the time. Now it’s my turn. Peaceful Readers, let me tell you somepin.
It’s been a fascinating year. Truly. I’ve learned so many things. I’ll be sharing them with you as we continue our walk through this series.
Looking and feeling
How did the year begin?
Monday, January 1, 2018
…I reflected on 2016 and 2017 today, and [I] look forward to this year—excited about all that God will do.
Before going to bed, I sat looking at the fire, with all the lights off in the house. The glow was beautiful and the fire felt warm on my face. TBTG!
The twelve letters
I’m obviously a big fan of words. But sometimes I like numbers too. The subtitle of this post is The twelve and the letters. Speaking of 12 and letters, how about these 12 letters.
Hold tightly to that truth.
Where I’ve been
When we take The Healing Journey and invest ourselves in The Season of Grieving, it feels like we’ve traveled to a distant place. And we have. The memories reveal truths. We uncover, discover and discard. We unpack our traumas. Then we see things differently.
I’ve traveled to many places during this chapter of The Healing Journey—my past, my memories—to the deep, dark depths of me. And I brought beautiful things home with me: understanding, freedom, forgiveness.
Make sure you listen to the song and watch the video at the end of this post. They describe and show this emotional and spiritual journey in a wonderful, visual way.
Do you need to write some letters? Therapeutic letters? Letters to give you the gift of closure? Think about the baggage you can shed and the doors you can close peacefully—one letter, one hour at a time….
You can do it.
Thanks for walking with me and Choosing Peace.
Coming next: The next post surprised me a little. It turned out differently than I expected. Stay tuned for part 1 of A Story of Grieving. You’ll read about a song I sang to Logan when he was a baby and much more.
Healing through truth and music
Peaceful Readers, I’ve found great healing in my life through the beauty and truth of God’s word and through music. I hope the truths and songs that I share at the end of each post will bless you too.
Truth from The Word: I realized after choosing this scripture—Joshua 1:9—that it’s been in my hands almost every day this year… blessing me. It’s on the cover of my 2018 journal.
Song for Healing: “Wherever I Go” by Dan Bremnes