Notes Left Behind
by Kim Hamlin
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When Elena Desserich was six years old, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Before her death in 2007, she hid hundreds of little love notes for her parents to find in their house after her death. Elena was given 135 days to live, but lived 255 days before passing in 2007. Thatís when Elena's parents, Brooke and Keith, started finding the notes between books on bookshelves, inside compact disc cases, and in backpacks.
What an incredible gift this was for the Desserichs! Wouldnít you love to leave a gift like that for the people that you care about? According to the National Safety Council, almost 2,500,000 Americans die every year. Almost 40% of those deaths are unexpected. This means that about 2,600 Americans woke up this morning and felt they had a long time to live, but they are no longer with us. I know, I know, this post seems to be taking an an even uglier turn, but stay with me a minute.
Thereís nothing that can ease the pain of losing a loved one. But imagine the comfort and the peace that words from you will give them when you are no longer around to let them know how much you care, how much you admire them, or how much you are grateful for something they have done for you. The best part is that your death doesnít have to be imminent for you to embark on this adventure! See, I told you it would get better.
1. Make a list of all the people you love the most. I would start with family and very close friends, and then get started. You can always add others to your list later.
2. Think of the most important message is that you can give to each one on your list. You know the people on your list, so take the time to really think about them and what their interests are and what motivates them.
3. Decide on your medium. What is the best way that you can convey their special message that you thought about for number 2. Will you write a letter, a handmade card, or get creative and make them a cd with a note inside the case? Scrapbooks and memory books are also great pieces for grandparents, parents, children or dear friends. Treasure hunt notes are perfect for the young or a significant other. And a donation to their favorite charity along with a letter to them is always great too.
4. Write down your ideas as you are progressing, chances are you will think of more projects/notes and more people with whom you would like to share your gratitude, memories and love.
The greatest bonus is seeing the joy on their faces when you share your thoughts, wishes and gifts with them. The next best bonus is that your idea(s) will catch on and your recipients will steal your idea and start leaving notes behind for their families and friends. They might ask for your advise and give you some ideas that you can use in the future, write those down!
Donít wait for a diagnosis to leave notes behind, start your writing and creating now while you have a chance to reap the joy reward. Elena was only six, but was able to grasp the importance of letting people know what they meant to her. A huge fringe benefit is that you will be practicing your writing while sharing your love.
Thanks for the inspiration Elena! Happy writing everyone!
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I just totally love this piece. My mom died unexpectedly in August, 1993. Somehow, she must have known because she bought a Christmas present for every member of the family and put a Post-it on each one so she would know who to give it too. My dad handed them out Christmas morning. It wasn't unlike Mom to do shopping when sales popped up, but to have presents for her three kids, their spouses, and her grandchildren and her two best friends was all because Jesus prompted her. That is the only thing I would add to your list before number one--listen to Jesus' prompting you! I hope you see this note as you touched my heart and I would love to use this in my newsletter that I write for two small town churches. I also hope you will consider coming back to FW. I miss you. You have a lot of talent and I hope you are still writing. Thank you for this lovely piece and idea.
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