24 Nov The Lost Art of Letter Writing… A Coaching Tool?
After feeling a little smug that I’d managed to keep up with my blog and newsletter throughout my Mum’s illness, death and funeral, I’ve found this week that I’ve been falling further and further behind.
On one level I hear the voice in my head making excuses, offering credible reasons to be ‘gentle’ with myself, and not pile on the expectations during this time of grief.
But underneath, although there’s an element of that, I realise that’s not what’s been behind my procrastination. Afterall, I really WANT to blog – I find it a great outlet and exploration of what’s going on for me, and if it happens to resonate with anyone else that’s fantastic!
If I look objectively at my avoidance of buckling down and writing I notice a couple of things going one –
1. My usual kickback against things I start to feel ought to do rather than trusting what I want to do, and
2. Indecision and overwhelm about what to actually write. Because there’s SO much going on in my head just now, so many thoughts, challenged assumptions, raw emotions, questions, insights, frustrations, joys, that I don’t quite know how to begin to order and articulate them in a way that would make sense – to me, let alone anyone else! And yes, there’s shades of my perfectionist in this too.
Curiously though, what’s just dissipated this whirlpool of overwhelm, avoidance and perfectionism has been reading old letters.
You see, as I write this I’m sat in my Mum’s home after an afternoon and evening of slowly and lovingly sorting some of its contents as we get ready to sell the property. The three of us (my brother, sister and I) had already previously made a good start together ‘decluttering and depersonalising’ (I love the team we make and the mutual emotional support), but tonight I was over with work commitments anyway and thought I could get things further prepared by emptying and sorting a few drawers and cupboards to make it easier for whole family to see what we wanted to keep, share, rehome, recycle etc etc.
In the quiet of being on my own, I was more inclined to linger over what I came across, dipping deeper and deeper into nostalgia and a rich fullness of new understanding of Mum’s life broader than my perspective as her daughter alone.
Mum wasn’t particularly a hoarder. Her home is light, modern and generally uncluttered – apart from the vast array of family photographs we’d removed from the walls! However, tucked away in the drawers is a rich seam of cards, letters and love tokens – the earliest letter I’ve found so far was a letter Mum wrote to her parents whilst on a school trip. It’s not dated, but from its contents I reckon around 1950. There are letters from her mother after Mum gave birth to my brother. Letters from all 3 of us children through different stages of growing up. And of course letters from my Dad throughout the whole of their loving 41 year marriage. And those wonderful letters inspired me to, well, just write!
The letters are not carefully crafted, perfect messages. These letters are simply real, and from the heart, reflecting what’s right there in the moment. Sadly, we don’t often write letters any more.
But I realised that’s exactly how I want this blog to be – like a series of letters, that feel one to one and personal. So I can share my heart, soul, hopes and vulnerabilities.
I realised it doesn’t have to be an answer to be inspiring, all I have to do is write what’s in my heart.