I'm a big fan of letting people know that you care for them while they're still around. I even do it while sober, which can make others uncomfortable. I recently sat down and wrote separate, physical letters to my (married) grandmother and grandfather, because I wanted each to know how much I care about them individually, but I've chosen to combine the letter in my own record of it. (Just because you use the mail doesn't mean you have to completely trust that it will deliver your message. Record, copy, backup, save.)
I'm very lucky to still have my mother's parents in my life at this age and I realize it. I feel guilty for again moving out of state and away from them, but I know that they love me. I've decided to make more of an effort to let them know how much I appreciate them.
Let the people you care about know that they rock your world.
Dear Grandma and Grandpa B,
This letter and expression of thanks are long overdue and I apologize for not letting you know what you mean to me sooner. I treasure your presence in my life, and I am thankful, grateful and honored to call you my family.
Gramp, you taught me to protect and care for my mind, spirit and body. That what you put into them affects what they become. You have no idea how much your ever-present tales (the cookie thief, the tale of the oyster, the touch of the master's hand) have stuck with me and shaped the way I view the world. When I read "the funnies" in the newspaper or online, I can still hear you reading them aloud to me. Thank you for always being there, my own personal chicken soup for the soul.
Although my own dalliances with woodworking, music making and poetry displayed not even a minuscule level of talent, I have learned to appreciate all of them because of you. I will always appreciate a well-built fire and the people its warmth is shared with because of you. You have helped me see and appreciate beauty in so much of the world around me. Early mornings spent watching the steam rise from your coffee, while you talked about things I could not even begin to understand and the rest of the world was quiet and still were some of the most magic moments of my childhood. You are the sweetest, kindest, most gentle soul that I know.
Gram, you taught me that women can be independent, regardless of their marital status. You showed me how to not be afraid of doing or trying anything. You shared with me your love of reading, and although I pick up a romance novel far less frequently than I used to, they always remind me of you. You taught me to treasure traditions and customs and family. You taught me to appreciate the quality, and the amount of time, skill and love that go into hand made products. You inspire me to be a better artist in everything I create.
No matter what I've done in my life, you have been a constant source of encouragement, support and pride. You have never said anything to dash my hopes or dreams. I have never had any reason to doubt your level of love for me or pride in me. The events you've shown support for simply by being there mean the world to me. You not only went prom dress shopping with me, but you encouraged me to get the backless dress my mother never would have. You wanted to see when I got my first tattoo, you want to read every embarrassingly-drunk story I have written and you told me to "Just say it" when 19 year old me tried to clean up my language in front of you. Betty White's got nothing on you Gram.
I am eternally grateful for the constant support, the lessons you've shared, and the love you've given. You have been the best Grandparents a girl could ever hope for. Thank you. I love you and appreciate you. Though we may be far apart (my fault), you're never far from my thoughts.
(embarrassing childhood nickname)