When my husband, Bob, died very suddenly in January 1994, I received condolences from people I hadn't heard from in years: letters, cards, flowers, calls, visits. I was overwhelmed with grief, yet uplifted by this outpouring of love from family, friends and even mere acquaintances.
One message touched me profoundly. I received a letter from my best friend from sixth grade through high school. We had drifted somewhat since graduation in 1949, as she stayed in our hometown and I had not. But it was the kind of friendship that could quickly resume even if we lost touch for five or ten years.
Her husband, Pete, had died perhaps 20 years ago at a young age, leaving her with deep sorrow and heavy res- ponsibilities: finding a job and raising three young children. She and Pete, like Bob and I, had shared one of those rare, close, "love-of-your-life-you-can-never- forget" relationships.
In her letter she shared an anecdote about my mother (now long deceased). She wrote, "When Pete died, your dear mother hugged me and said, 'Trudy, I don't know what to say… so I'll just say I love you.'"
She closed her letter to me repeating my mother's words of so long ago, "Bonnie, I don't know what to say … so I'll just say I love you."
I felt I could almost hear my mother speaking to me now. What a powerful message of sympathy! How dear of my friend to cherish it all those years and then pass it on to me. I love you. Perfect words. A gift. A legacy.