Friday, April 16, 2010

Get It Write

am a fan of letters. Real, live handwritten missives. Whether you share my letter-love or not, please take the time to write a card to the family when someone dies.

It doesn't have to be long. Sharing a simple memory will mean the world to the family. They will likely be enjoyed by subsequent generations, providing a glimpse into the life of their ancestor.

E-mails are for the moment. Letters are forever.

Today I was able to copy a letter written by a Civil War soldier about his fallen friend, Captain Sam Stewart. In it, the soldier describes Capt. Stewart's brave leadership, the way he died, and how his troops paid their respects as they laid him to rest.

The fact the letter still exists speaks to how much the family treasured this first-hand account.

You may not have such dramatic details to share in your letter, but it will surely be appreciated just the same.

Don't underestimate the power of doing this. What better gift could you give? Write a few words about your times together, how the deceased loved their family, a song or place that makes you think of them, anything that comes to mind.

It's never too late, either. Consider sending your thoughts in a Christmas card. If you feel comfortable, send a letter on their birthday.

It doesn't matter how much you write or when you send it. The important thing is to do it.


  1. I love this suggestion! Because I have hideous penmanship, I'm always reluctant to write handwritten letters, but you are totally right on here.

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  3. Yesterday I spoke to an old friend of my father's who wrote to me after he died. (It was typed, so there you go.) He talked about how they met, how much he enjoyed working with him and how their friendship remained as their lives changed. He included a couple jokes about their relationship too, like how they would always joke over who would pay for lunch.

    It was simple. No platitudes, no advice, no attempt to fix it. Simple, but such a wonderful gift.


When someone dies, (other than attending the service), I do this for the family-