The Most Important Writing You Will Ever Do In Your Life

Weekends, for me, are a time to spend relaxing with family.  It’s a time when we are all together for meals, and I cook special foods for my family and I to enjoy. Often we’ll play a game of cards after dinner or work on a puzzle together. In short, weekends at my house are like a holiday – food, family and a bit of fun.

My family is important to me, and as time has gone on and I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize just how precious each moment spent with my family is – especially my older relatives who I don’t see as often as I should or as I’d like to.

These days I only have a few older relatives left.  Most of them are gone now.  The chance to visit with them, to hear their their stories, to get to know them better is gone forever.  I’m left only with a few memories and photos.  Or so I thought.

This past weekend I happened upon a stack of greeting cards that were kept together with a rubber band.  It was a stack of cards I didn’t know I had.

As I tried to remove the rubber band it broke – after doing it’s job of holding all those cards together for 30 years!

I looked at the first card in the stack and quickly realized that these were cards given to me when I graduated high school – cards from family members long gone, and from old friends who I hadn’t seen in years.

I began reading the things people wrote to me in each card.  Nice sentiments for a bright time in a young person’s life.  And then I came upon a card from my grandmother who passed away last August.  She only wrote a paragraph, but it moved me to tears.  It was almost as if she were standing beside me, telling me again how much she believed in me, and how much she loved me.  It was such a precious treasure to find!

But, a couple of cards further into the stack I found another treasure equally as precious.  It was a card from my other grandmother – my paternal grandmother. I didn’t know her very well growing up as she lived 3,000 miles away from me. We had visited her only a handful of times when I was young.  But, she always send cards for my birthdays, for holidays, and for my graduation.  Where all those cards are today no one knows.  But I now have one.

I eagerly opened the card hoping to find a message inside.  But, there was only her signature.  I though to myself, “Well, I don’t remember ever writing to her so I guess it’s only fair she wrote nothing to me.”  And I closed the card.

But then, I flipped the card over to put it on top of the cards I had already looked at and there it was!  Her sentiments to me!  She had filled the entire back side of the card with words of care, and love, and a bit of sorrow at not being able to be at my graduation ceremony.

Oh what bliss!  She had died 22 years ago, yet what she wrote to me in that card seemed fresh – I having forgotten it from so long ago when she first sent me the card.

And that’s when I realized that the most important writing any of us will ever do isn’t our booklets, books, blogs, or other projects.  We do those things to help people and to make money and that’s good.  We need to do those things.  And they have their place, and they are important.  But they aren’t the most important.  No.  That place of grandeur is reserved for something far more special – the cards and letters we give and send to our loved ones.

It’s mind blowing how much thought we’ll put into our booklets, books, and other products and how little thought we give to the writing that really matters most – the writing that will outlast us and be cherished by future generations – our sentiments for our loved ones.

Cards and letters are often kept and cherished by those who receive them – especially when you write something in them besides your signature.

If you’ve ever simply signed a card and sealed the envelope, write a little note inside next time.

And if you usually do write a little note, put a little more thought into it and make it a little longer next time.

You never know.  Someday, long after you are gone, one of your loved ones may happen upon that very card and open it again longing to hear from you!

To your riches!

Kim Hillman

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6 responses to “The Most Important Writing You Will Ever Do In Your Life

  1. Beautiful article Kim!

    I’ve recently pulled out old notes from my high school creative writing teacher and another good friend who was a successful novelist. Both recently passed away far too young. But their notes and letters live on to keep inspiring me. The double whammy of good writers, sharing heart-felt sentiments, is more emotion than a man can take.

    Some of my favorite writing has been writing letters to reconnect with old teachers, coaches, bosses and childhood friends. I know they appreciated the notes and it was so rewarding to me to reconnect as well.

    Thanks for the poignant reminder that what we write, really, really matters.

    Mike Johnson

    • Hi Mike!

      Thank you for your kind words. I was in my mid 20’s when my paternal grandmother died. I don’t recall ever writing to her when I was young. Shame on me! But, I was young and I just didn’t get it. I feel terrible about it now. But, nine months before she died I took my newborn son, her first great grandchild, and I went to visit her. I hope that made up for all those years I failed to send her a greeting.

      Since finding those cards I’m paying more attention. My mother has sent cards to me for years and until last fall I usually just rolled my eyes when I would get one. She lives about 30 minutes from me. We could chat by phone or visit in person. No need to send cards.

      But then one day I heard something that really made me think. I was watching a man on tv and he said that when someone sends you a card it’s very special because it means that they thought of you when they picked it out and purchased it, they thought of you again when they wrote inside it, and again when they put a stamp on it and mailed it.

      When I re-read my grandmothers cards it wasn’t just about the sentiment inside, although those words are now priceless to me. It was also about the time and effort they put into picking out the right card, taking the time to write something thoughtful inside, and then sending it to me – with a warm smile I know! So much went into it.

      I no longer roll my eyes now when my mother sends me a card. It’s her way of showing she cares, and it’s one that will last a very long time.

      I’m going to send more cards to the people I love, and I’m going to take more time to write something truly thoughtful inside them.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. That was really nice. I hope I have some old cards, since moving out of state so much gets lost yet I hope one day when I empty my storage that I’ll find some. I can feel your joy of finding those 2 cards as I would have treasured them just the same. It’s funny I read this right now as just yesterday I was thinking of grandma and those cards she used to write me. I miss her every day.

    • Today, for my birthday, I had Uncle Ron come over and bring the old movies. The ones I most wanted to see were the ones before my time – of Grandma and Grandpa, of our mother when she was young, and of our great grandmothers. I got to see three reels of film and they were just delightful! Mom was probably only about 10 in one of them and there was such a sweet moment when she was standing next to Grandma and she gave her a kiss on the cheek! There was footage of a family picnic, our mother and siblings playing in the snow in their yard, swimming at a lake, an outing and the fair, and so much more! I had never seen any of this footage. It was wonderful to get to spend some time with all the old relatives again – even if only being able to watch them in a movie.

      And yes, I was very happy to find those cards! They are a treasure to me. I hope that you come across such treasures one day. Perhaps some shower cards you’ve saved from your wedding or baby showers? Or wedding cards? I don’t even remember saving mine. Someone saved them for me and I just found them all.

  3. Hi Kim! I really enjoyed this blog. I’m a bit of a pack rat, and though I hate to admit it, kind of sentimental. I have packs of old cards and pictures. I run across them every once in a while, whenever I feel the need to straighten up and clean my living space. Because I’m in “project mode” at those times, I rarely spend any real time looking through them. Your blog makes me think that just might turn out to be a worthwhile “project” in its own right!

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