Evidence that I was here, that I loved and was loved.

I’ve been trying really hard this week to clean and organize my office, my work space.  The hard part is that some things need to go, or I might be called a Hoarder.  I buckled down today and did a really really hard thing, as described in this journal entry:

I went to work in my office, sorting and organizing. I had 3 rather large boxes stacked in front of my filing cabinets full of cards and letters that I’ve saved. Proof that I existed and was nice to people. I suppose I’ve had visions of my children someday reading each one, thinking, “Wow, all these people really liked my mom. She must’ve been a really cool person!” The cards dated back to 2005.  So many. People used to send cards of thanks for so many reasons. One box was entirely from the Yakima missionaries. Love notes to their Mission Mom. So many dear expressions.

With a heavy heart, I am parting with them.  I can’t keep them all.  No one else will ever take the time to read them.  So I must move on.  I’d like to think that my kids might read them someday when I’m gone, but I know they won’t care what anyone said to me back then.

As I read through every card and letter, remembering my dear friends, I thought about the time John & I were seated at a BYU President’s Dinner next to Elder and Sister Holland shortly after he was called to the Twelve.  We were new at BYU then, and loving our experiences there.  (Elder Holland was called as a general authority and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1989, bringing an end to his term as president of BYU. He was ordained an Apostle in 1994.)

I asked  Elder Holland how he missed being at BYU (naively thinking he’d gush on about how much he missed it). He said to me that he really didn’t have time to think much about BYU anymore. Life moved on and he was busy now with so many other things. I remember feeling a little let down that we were no longer his focus, the place he longed to return to, or his happiest memory. He had moved on to more important things.

I, too, have moved on. As I read the names on the 100s of cards and notes, I had to think that these dear friends have moved on too since our time together. They’ve moved on from my Institute classes, my Family History classes, my quilt activities, the kids’ school classes, Young Womens and ward activities, visiting teachers, the elderly in our neighborhood we delivered soup to every week, and so many more (nice) things I did for my friends.  There were so many sweet notes from our Yakima missionaries.  There were notes from my Dad.

I feel sad, now, just looking at the boxes filled to the top and my trash can ready to be emptied. It’s like saying goodbye to all of those friends, many of whom are no longer with us. One was a card from Mrs, Day, my kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher at Windsor School. Several cards were from neighbors who have since died. So many were from missionaries–birthday and Mother’s Day cards and notes. Their words to me will not be read again. It’s really hard to throw them away. Mostly because their words meant so much to me at the time, and partly because they are evidence that I was here and that I lived and that I loved every single person who at sometime in my life sent me a card of thanks.

I’m trying to channel Elder Holland’s words. He moved on. I must move on too. I did save a small pile to hang on to a bit longer. A few family pictures from relatives. A few especially meaningful ones. But, they will probably sit in another box for the next 10 years before being thinned out again.

I have a really hard time throwing away words. It’s contrary to everything in my documenting heart. I’m going to walk away from those boxes now, as they sit in the middle of my office floor.  5:01 p.m.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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