By Kathleen Emmets.
Note from Jen Pastiloff: Kathleen showed up at my Kripalu Retreat a couple years ago and has since become a dear friend and a great source of inspiration for me. She is the one who created the Fuck It List, that I so often speak of. She sent me this and I knew I had to get it up on the site. Humbled.
Thank you for the beautiful way you teach people to express themselves. I wrote this in the voice you helped me to find.
I love you.
I stand at her bedside, holding her frail, smooth hand. She can’t speak today and her eyes, for the most part, remain closed. “It’s better this way,” I think to myself.
When they are open they frighten me.
Striking in their icy blue color, they shift from confusion, to fear, to recognition.
Yes, it’s better when they are closed.
I can pretend she’s sleeping here in this bed, in a room I used to stay in as a child. I can tell myself she’s resting comfortably instead of dying in the house that for so long was my shelter.
She is my godmother; my mother’s best friend. The first person in my life who chose to love me. If you asked her, she would say she didn’t. She would tell you that I was easy to fall in love with. She would go on about me like I was the greatest thing in the world. She always made me feel that way.
How ever am I going to let her go?
My friend, Jen Pastiloff, holds these amazing workshops that I attend annually. In them, she asks you to think of someone you love, who loves you and to thank them for all they have brought to your life.
This is my thank you to my Aunt Linda.
Dear Aunt Linda,
Thank you for loving my sensitive soul. Thank you for understanding me and always knowing just what to say. Thank you for explaining me to my mom so that she could do the same. We have the relationship we do today because of you.
Thank you for never judging me, even when my actions went against your religious beliefs.
You stood by my side, unwavering in your support.
You were the first person in the recovery room when I gave birth to Sean. You told me he was beautiful and that you were so proud of me. That meant everything to me. I hope you knew that.
Thank you for staying up all night making favors for my first wedding. You knew I was making the wrong decision; you knew it wouldn’t last, but you still wanted everything to be just right for me. Thank you for helping me get dressed in that crappy little bathroom and telling me you’ve never seen anyone more beautiful.
You always knew what I needed to hear.
Thank you for loving my son like he was your own grandchild. He, too, has grown up with your love and is a better person because of it. I’m so thankful he will have memories of you always.
Thank you for showing up to everything. Birthdays, graduations, baptisms, etc. you never missed anything. My home is filled with memories of you; photos of you in every album, picture frames you gave me hold my favorite ones of us. Because of this, I will never forget your smile.
I could go on all night, thanking you for all you have done. I’m sure there are countless things I’ve forgotten; things that will eventually bring a smile to my face when I remember them. Right now, though, what’s fresh in my mind is how thankful I am for the last three years.
When I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, the phone call to you was the one that made me crumble. I hated myself for causing you so much pain.
Thank you for showing up for every chemo session and sitting at my side with my mom as I became sick by it. You were diagnosed just three months after I was. The day I had my surgery to remove the tumors from my colon and liver was when you found out you had pancreatic cancer.
And yet, there you were at my bedside when I woke up telling me, once again how proud you were of me.
I’m thankful for the weekly lunches we had where we discussed good times and great memories but could also talk freely about our fears of what cancer might possibly mean.
Thank you for celebrating every clean scan of mine, even as your own health rapidly deteriorated. Remember that time my nurse couldn’t make it to my house so you came over at 6:30 AM to cook me breakfast even though you were going through chemo yourself? Who does that? You did. Thank you.
You showed me love in every possible way you could. The void in my life will be vast and unfillable.
The irony is that this is the exact kind of situation you would make better for me. You would find some way to tell me exactly what I needed to hear and I would be ok. I genuinely can’t imagine my life without you. And yes, I know all of my new age thinking tells me that you’ll never truly leave me. And my religious upbringing says that you’ll watch over me. But I’m selfish. I want you here. I want to be able to pick up the phone and hear your voice. I want to walk into my backyard and see you laughing with my mom and my dad making fun of you both.
I don’t want to let you go.
Thank you for making me feel so damn special. For your love, your kindness, for the occasional kick in the ass…I thank you.
Note from Jen: Please post your own letter in the comment section below written in the voice of someone who loves you. It is one of my signature exercises in my Manifestation Workshops®. See you at one soon. And yes, I am doing Kripalu again, where I first met my beloved Kathleen. Can’t wait to read your letters. xo jen