FIVE YEARS ON, I STILL READ THE LETTERS
Carmel Keane joined one of our workshops and shared her beautiful letter story with us, and then agreed that we could share it with you.
The greatest lesson my mam taught me was that housework is never a priority but a life of adventures & experiences certainly is.
And so it was with her blessing that, when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer and given 6 months to live, I didn’t change any of my travel plans. All she asked was that I let her know about the experiences I was having. I’m not sure the rest of my family understood but Mam and I had our own understanding of how we could support each other through her illness.
What followed was 6 months of correspondence. From Co. Kerry to Switzerland to Jordan to Canada to St Lucia, we swapped letters, notes, cards and photos. I’d send her little maps of each country and plot the places I was visiting. Occasionally I would use hotel stationery to make it even more real for her, and other times I would write on a plain, old fashioned writing pad. I loved mixing it up as much as she loved never knowing what would be next.
We expressed ourselves in those letters and notes in ways we sometimes could not manage in person. One of the last letters, just before her last Christmas, said: ‘It isn’t many would jump out of bed on a wet and windy morning to write to Carmel but I love you so much it’s no bother”.
My mam died five years ago. Every now & again I take out the letters; her handwriting is comforting. Occasionally even now, 5 years on, my siblings and dad ask to read them. They are a beautiful, warm reminder of her sense of fun, adventure and how she supported me in following my life path & my love of travel.
I am blessed that she was my mam and our letters are a loving reminder of her life. I will treasure them forever.
Please share your stories with us.
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