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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Inspiring Dear Heart Note

Thursday, March 8, 2018

D E A R  H E A R T 

A true short story about love, marriage, family, commitment, service, and 

getting priorities right. 

dear heart note reminder of love

D E A R  H E A R T 

The Dear Heart story began in 1946 when my parents married, just after World War II. During their marriage they endured hardships including my father's 2.5-year battle with tuberculosis, contracted while overseas in the military. Whatever circumstances they faced, and there were other extreme hardships, they remained committed to one another, and my childhood memories are of a loving family. 

A handwritten Dear Heart note from the past sits on the breakfast table as part of a spring arrangement, and the note inspires me every time I catch glimpses of it. The note ignites flashes of memories of my daddy, my mother, and my brother. 

dear heart note reminder of father's love
My memories are of my daddy always kissing my mother goodbye when he left the house... to go to work, to go to the store, ...  whenever he left the house ..., and always telling her where he was going, and when he expected to return. 

During their 48-year marriage, Mother survived breast cancer. Daddy cared for her. The last 2 years of my daddy's life he was bedridden. Mother retired, and cared for him. He died in 1994. Mother died in 2015. 

I often think about the strength of their marriage, their personal resolve to withstand all trials, and their dedication to remain faithful to each other unto death. My heart has been saddened so many times in my life when dear friends, fellow Christians, and loved ones have not been able to remain faithful unto death. My parents' marriage is a reminder there have been marriages that lasted. 

I was the executor of Mother's modest estate, and took care of all of the paperwork, which included dispersing family photos and documents to my siblings and their children. We met together numerous times to go through family photos and documents to reminisce with each other and with our mother's surviving brothers. Photos and documents were shared with everyone who wanted them. Mother's estate was closed in 2016.  

dear heart note reminder of father's love
To our surprise, my sister-in-law found two insurance policies for our daddy when she was going through my brother's home office last week. My brother died in February, and she was organizing his papers. She mailed the two insurance policies to me since I was the executor of Mother's estate. 

She sent them by certified U.S. Mail. The policies inside were in an original envelope, postmarked 1970, Huntsville, Alabama. One was for $20,000, and the other was a graduated benefit based on my daddy's salary. 

Could there be a little more inheritance for us? From so many years ago? Overlooked by accident at Daddy's death? 

No. Neither policy is payable. The $20,000 policy was an Accidental Death policy, and the other policy was discontinued when my daddy retired. 

dear heart note vintage postmarked 1970

But, the handwritten note on the back of the original 1970 insurance envelope is a treasure worth far more than money. A testament in Daddy's own handwriting of the important things in life... 

A comfort to us during this time of fresh grief of losing our brother... 

An unexpected reminder from our daddy of our daddy's love for our mother, our family, his fellow Christian, and a reminder of his life of service as an elder in our home church congregation. 

dear heart note shows father's love

Dear Heart - 
We have gone to practice --- If Bro. Lowery comes by before I return tell him the elders will meet with him after services tonight. 

Dear Heart --- addressed in love to our mother who was not home when he left the house... 

We have gone to practice --- as always, letting her know where he was... In 1970, my brother who died in February, would have been 15, before he had a driver's license. In late April he would have been practicing baseball. Daddy coached his Little League YMCA summer team when my brother was younger. In 1970, my brother was a pitcher on his high school's baseball team. 

If Bro. Lowery comes by --- Brother (Bro.) was how Daddy addressed his fellow Christians, and Bro. Lowery must have been expected. Even though Daddy was committed to helping others, this note reminds me he put my brother, our family, before others. He went to my brother's practice instead of sitting waiting for someone to come to the house. Nonetheless, he left a message in case he missed Bro. Lowery. 

the elders will meet with him after services tonight --- Daddy served as a leader in our home church congregation. People came to our house to talk with him during their times of sickness, spiritual crisis, family problems, financial problems... Whatever Bro. Lowery needed, I am sure Daddy and the other elders helped him. 

The Dear Heart note was quickly written on the back of a piece of mail lying on the kitchen counter. It was not a planned letter to Mother nor a planned lesson to us, but a note that shows how my daddy lived his life every day. A note that speaks volumes. 

His voice from the past reminds us to remain steadfast, to love, and to get our priorities right.