A Joyful Journey...

Join Doris Smeltzer, critically acclaimed author/educator, as she muses on topics from eating disorders to the mysteries of life. Often "Featured" are select, astute observations made by Andrea during her all too brief 19-year life…it is she who taught us: the joy IS in the journey!

Letters and lessons from the past

Over a month ago one of my sisters sent me an amazing and unique gift. It seems that she saved all the letters I wrote her with the intent of one day returning them to me as a sort of "diary" of the past. I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to look through them, until today.

The letters were arranged in chronological order so I picked up the first dated March 24, 1977--written over 30 years ago! I must admit feeling a bit of trepidation...not sure I really wanted to revisit my past. I was surprised at how much I packed into one envelope--this first missive was 7 pages long and all hand-written. My initial realization as I began reading was that I remembered more than I thought I would...until getting to page two. From then on I had only vague recollections or no memory whatsoever of what I shared.

This letter tells the story of a young newlywed couple (Tom and me) and their toddler's first experience at day care (Jocelyn--Andrea wouldn't enter the scene for another two years) and a 12-year-old dog in her final days. The most surprising part of the letter was actually about the dog--I was jealous of her! Until reading this letter I had no recollection of having felt so strongly about Duchess, the German Shepard/Doberman mix that had been Tom's constant companion since puppy-hood. A portion of what I wrote:

She is the only thing I've had to compete with for attention from [Tom] and I believe it's a losing battle. I just want to see if anything changes after she goes. It has seemed apparent to me that my husband needs that "something else" to love first and then he can love me. Won't know till Dutch is gone. Hope my suspicions aren't true.

Wow! A shocker to be sure (and a tad bit embarrassing--really??!!). I can't wait to share this letter with Tom and see if he was at all aware of my feelings back then. I imagine it will be as much a surprise to him as it is to me. 

If this is any indication of what is to come, I may just allow the past to remain in the past. Yet, I am reminded that this is the time of year for celebrations of renewal, remembering and re-birth. If I keep reading, maybe I'll walk away with not only "refreshed" memories, but a more accurate perspective on the woman I was and how she became the woman I am today.

Sending special blessings during this time of Passover, Easter, and the beauty of spring.

[Originally posted on the Gürze Books Eating Disorders Blogs]

Looking, comparing and taking a long overdue break
Thank you Michelle Obama!
 

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