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The importance of a good letter

There are a handful of things that I strongly believe.
1. When someone repeatedly pops in to your mind, you should contact them and say hello.
2. What is meant for you won't pass you
3. Everyone you meet, you meet for a reason. It could be good, it could be 'character building'.
4. The ability to laugh through the good and the bad is what makes strong characters.

Recently, a few people have been popping into my head. So I decided to write to them all. I had one issue however, and that was that one of the people was my old English teacher in secondary school. I wondered how on earth I would contact her and it slipped my mind after a couple of weeks. Then two weeks ago, while I was unpacking, a card fell out of a book that had been boxed up for the last few years. I opened it up and it was from my teacher. She sent it to my just after my sister died. On the top right hand corner, was an address. I saw it as a sign to write to her at the address in the hope that she hadn't moved in the past ten years.

I know a lot of people will think that it is bizarre that I was so eager to write to an old teacher. I was one of the lucky folk in that regard. When my sister died, I had been out of secondary school just over two years. The teachers knew me, they knew my sister and as I tried to mourn such an unexpected loss, those teachers gave me their time, patience and love, and highlighted to me that teaching is as much a vocation as it is a career. Mary, my English teacher went over and above.
She would randomly text me to say she was in the city I lived in and see if I was free for a coffee. I honestly think she knew my university time table! On the day of my 21st birthday, she sent me one of those messages. I felt so lonely that day and was delighted to see a friendly face. I went to the coffee shop around the corner from my flat where she was, and found her sitting there with my old principal. The principal got up and made her excuses, gave me a quick hug and left. I sat and ordered my coffee. Next thing I know, there is a package sitting on the table in front of me. Mary knew that it was my 21st birthday and had bought me an early edition of the series '1000 movies to see before you die'. She had remembered me telling her how much I loved the film module I was studying as part of my arts degree. Her gift touched me to the core and has survived multiple country moves and sits proudly on the top shelf of my bookshelf.

Mary was the woman who saw that I struggled to talk about my feelings at that time. It was a time of great distrust and if I'm honest, fear. She arrived for one of our coffee dates with a notebook and pen. She handed them across the table and simply said 'If you can't speak about everything, write it down'. I did and the weight it lifted off my shoulders got me through the next few years. In so many ways, her time, her patience and her belief in the written word, saved me.

Today, I came home from work, and there was a handwritten envelope on the floor inside the door. I knew the handwriting but I couldn't place it. Suddenly it dawned on me where I knew it from! Years of English homework corrections! I made myself a cup of tea, and tore open the envelope. In true form, inside was a delightful card, a leopard chosen 'because he is strong and resourceful and what he has to do to make is life work, even if that is not an easy option'. There were also extracts from writing that she thought I would enjoy and many line of encouragement about my new adventures in Scotland.

That card and letter could not have arrived at a better time.

I have settled in to my new job so well, I am looking at signing off in the next couple of weeks. I finally feel like I have a home in my new wee flat. I am reading again, writing again, losing weight and exercising. I am also eating far too much cake but you know, each day at a time. The last time I had to go through a huge life change, my constant was Mary. It feels so symbolic that as I start all over again, which is what I am trying to do right now, she is back in my life.

Every time I have had to do one of those '3 people who inspire you', things at an interview or a dev day, the list is the same. 1. My dad 2. My Granny Forde, and 3. Mary O.
I have often thought about the time she gave me when I needed support and I have tried to mirror that so many times over the years in the workplace with my colleagues. Instead of coffee it is tea but I have always thought about how those brief conversations shaped my life, probably more that Mary will ever realise. Today's letter was a wonderful gift.

Apart from that, everything right now is going great.
I feel so relaxed and at ease with myself.
I met one of my old team leaders the other day who told me that I just seem so happy now. The stress has just gone from my face. I told my boss what he said and her response was 'You know he pretty much told you that you used to look like shit!', and she was right though I know that was not his intention!

I went to Brussels and thoroughly enjoyed myself for the first time in a lot time. I feasted on waffles and nutella, and passionfruit beer and gueuze. I did have to sneak through the metro gates with the help of a lovely old man with a large jacket as my ticket wouldn't work but it wouldn't have been a holiday without some ridiculousness. I didn't worry about work. I didn't think about work. It was unreal.

My books are out again, proudly displayed on their bookshelf. The apartment is full of colour, sentiment and warmth.

I keep harping on about 32 being my year. If this is what the rest of my life is going to feel like, then you know what, the life of Lu is going to be pretty fricking great. I feel so strongly about it, I even made a new inspiration board, Just to keep me in this frame of mind, and on the right track.




Comments

  1. Louise this is lovely! Mrs O'F (I can't bring myself to call her Mary!) is a wonderful lady, I can still picture her writing now! I recently read Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy and in it is the poem Valentine. I can still see her reading it out in 3rd year English! She's a special woman

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    1. It is funny how some people stay in your memories always, isn't it! Gosh, I had forgotten about that poem!!

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