Matt and I were invited to a Christmas party at my cousin’s house earlier in the month. We had a great time (a bonus of not having depression). Before we left, my cousin, Beth, gave me bag that her mother had sent to me. It was full of items that had been in my grandmother’s house when she passed away, and my Aunt Linda was sending them to me for division between my sister and me. It was mostly pictures that Grandma had, and the majority of those pictures were of my nieces and nephew, marking their growth and milestones.
But there were also some memorabilia related to my dad. There was a school report about baseball (with a grade of 97), a model car that he had put together as a boy, and some of her favorite pictures of him.
Like most people who have lost a close loved one, I think a lot about my dad during the holidays. I remember the fact that he always put his shopping off until the very last minute. I remember that Christmas Eve that he tried to fix our stuck back door and we ended up with the back door in the back yard–but it wasn’t stuck anymore. And when we get together with the rest of our family, I miss his presence.
Thus, the memorabilia that was in the bag that was specific to him felt like a Christmas present. It was wonderful to pull out the toy car and read the report on baseball.
And I was reminded that my dad was, to his bones, an optimistic person. He was a natural salesman and spent most of his adult life in some sort of sales job. He was always quite successful at sales because he connected so well with people. Maybe because of that optimism I mentioned.
In the bag of items were two love notes that he wrote as a boy. One of them perfectly illustrates that “never give up” attitude. He had it even as a young man.
Dear Cathy I ham (sic) very fond of you. And I know you love smity. And I know you have some more boy friend. But I still love you. love Tommy.
I love this love letter. He recognizes that Cathy loves someone else (Smity), but it doesn’t matter–Tommy still loves her. It’s that optimistic, glass-half-full outlook that he exhibited until he died.
This little note may have been the best gift I got this year.