Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dear Miss Stevens

It's the week of letters, it seems...

Dear Miss Stevens,

I thought of you when I pulled out your old sewing machine to patch Brian's work-around-the-house shorts. They were in terrible shape. You could see his underwear and half of one leg just flopped around as he walked. I think you would have laughed at him. Not that he would ever have shown them to you... he had much too much respect for you to do that.

I met you shortly after I met Brian's family. You had spent most of your adult life as a nurse, working with orphans in Africa. In your retirement, you had returned home and since you had no children of your own, had adopted his family as your family. Or had they adopted you?

I'm not sure, but you were loved.

And so, when I joined the family, I was adopted too. I loved the joy that always radiated out of you. The love that you freely gave. Your quirky little crafts that you would make for every special occasion. Knit snowmen for each place at the table for Christmas. Little bunnies at Easter. I admired that even in your 80's, you were determined to master using a computer. You played piano. You sewed. You were always busy.

You were a joy to come and visit. And it was so much fun to introduce our first child to you. How delighted you were.

And then I thought about when you had to downsize and you decided that we should have your piano, just because I had played Christmas carols on it one Christmas. I had been thinking about teaching piano lessons so I could stay home with my son. That didn't happen, but your piano still has a place of honour in our home. And Brian moves it each and every time we move. It's a wonder we can get anyone to help with that heavy thing. My kids love to play around on it sometimes. And as their music floats around the house, I think of you. And that book of Christmas carols I played from is well loved by Finleigh. Oh how she adores Christmas carols.

So, as I patched up Brian's shorts today, I thought of you and how difficult it must have been for you to admit that you could no longer use that sewing machine. Your eyes just weren't what they used to be.  Aging, I don't think, is an easy thing. You could no long thread the needle, even with the little thingamajig that was supposed to help you with that. So, you gave it to my mother-in-law and told her that I could have it. I was very grateful.

I haven't done many fun crafts, like you did, on that sewing machine. But it patches a lot of clothes and has sewn several sets of curtains. Each time I pull it out, I think of you. And I find myself grateful for the honour of knowing you.

You've been gone from this earth for a few years now and I miss visiting you. But I really do think you were a wonderful person. I hope you knew that.


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