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
home town 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 responsibilities:
finding a job and raising three young children. She and Pete,
like Bob and I, had shared one of those rare, close, "love-of-
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.