Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: MAIL (02/18/16)
TITLE: Dear Charlotte
By Belinda Peoples
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I’ve just finished reading your letter. I felt compelled to reply because I’ve been thinking such a lot about you. Even though I knew to expect a letter from you today, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about reading it. But I’m so glad I did. Sometimes I so desperately wish you could be here. Other times, it fills me with joy that you’re in such a wonderful place.
I dream of what it must be like where you are. Rolling green hills dotted with buttercups the colour of morning sunshine. Jacaranda flowers gracefully descend from their lofty canopy in the gentle breeze. Do you think the carpet they lay is purple or blue? I can never decide!
I imagine the wonderful things you’re enjoying with all the children. Do you encourage them to take their shoes and socks off to paddle in the stream that meanders through the valley? Are there tadpoles hiding in the shallows? You loved catching them with your brothers when you were little.
Your brothers miss you ever so much. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we all said our tearful goodbyes. Those last cuddles they gave you will be locked in my memory forever. I don’t think I recognised before then that those two boisterous troublemakers had such tender-hearted souls within.
We’ve all been following the instructions you left us in your last letter. I know you were worried we wouldn’t make the time to take them seriously, but it turns out you’ve had quite the good influence on us all.
Dad has been closing up and coming home early every Thursday and Saturday. We all eat dinner together those nights, catching up on the week that’s been. Inevitably the conversation turns to you. One or the other of us is often reminded of something special about you as we talk and eat.
The kitchen is quite often a mess until the next morning now. Playing a game together before bed always seems more inviting than cleaning up or switching on the television. I’m so thankful you taught us that.
You’ll be pleased to know your dad and I nearly always spend Sunday afternoons together. At first it was hard. I think each of us was exhausted from everything that had happened. We didn’t quite know how to relax in each other’s company anymore. Over time, our Sunday afternoon dates have become something we treasure. I’m not sure how we ever got by without them.
You asked, in your letter, if we could celebrate your thirteenth birthday next month. Of course we’ll have a party for you! Let me tell you, darling, I don’t think I’d ever hear the end of it from the boys if we didn’t. They remember how special you would make them feel on their birthdays. The party planning has been in full swing for about a month already.
We’re all sad, of course, that you won’t be there to celebrate it with us. It breaks my heart that you sometimes feel so far away, my baby girl. I try not to get lost in my thoughts of what your life could have been, or lost in my unanswered questions of why things had to be this way. But I don’t want to forget a single thing about you either. Sometimes it’s a tricky thing to remember all the wonderful things without starting to imagine things as I wish they could be.
On the good days and the hard days, your dad, your brothers and I keep our trust in Jesus. We pray together, for each other and for you. I don’t think it lessens the sadness I feel that you’re not here with us, I still miss you terribly, but it does help me live without regret for anything.
If I were to choose one thing our journey with you through your illness taught me, it would absolutely be that I’ve learnt better how to live in the joy of each and every day God gives us. How can I have regret on any day that I’ve chosen to focus on what God has given me and not on what he’s taken away?
You will always be such a joy to me, my darling girl, a priceless gift from God. Every day I love you, every day I miss you, but every day I’m thankful for the days God gave me with you.
Until the day Jesus brings me home to you,
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