It’s been many, many years since I’ve written a love letter, but I can no longer remain quiet about how I have loved you for so many years and my grief at the recent news about you! How proud I always felt to be with you. I hold you in a special place in my heart and feel so strongly about you that I sometimes think I would put your life before mine in order that you might live forever. Thus, it pains me beyond comprehension to know that you are dying. I fear I will not be able to stand the pain of losing you. My sorrow is overwhelming and I am distraught.
Do you remember when we first met that day on the beach? I was only 7 years old. You were so much older, and I thought, so much wiser. I was listening to Love Letters in the Sand by Pat Boone and suddenly, there you were – a whole world beyond my family home and the little town we lived in.
It was a world of freedom to listen to what I wanted, spend an entire day rolling around in the sand without worry about who or what might be lurking nearby with ill intent, travel across the country unmolested, and feel at one with people from all over – north, south, east, and west.
As I grew older, how I loved the music, the dancing, the camping, the holidays, the museums, the colleges, going to the city, working in a corporation. I loved being part of a system that people from around the world looked to for inspiration. I loved watching the various passions that ebbed and flowed in various ‘movements’ of our people, each group pressing their case for change, for transformation. How I excited I would feel when the system would suddenly ‘work well’ and uphold justice for somebody. Even though it took time and persistence to get those changes, it was so reassuring to know that you were alive, breathing, and responding. You probably didn’t realize it, but you taught us with your slow, measured changes that change was possible. In fact, you were teaching with your own actions that we should think of changes as normal, necessary, and natural. The message you sent at every level was that there was a need for ongoing change, and I thank you for this.
I know that death is near, and I weep daily at the thought that you are at that fateful door. I have noticed your slow, progressive deterioration these past years. I knew that you were getting older, but saying anything to this effect would have been politically incorrect and would have caused uproar in the family. So in sorrowful silence I watched you stumble and fall again and again – with your integrity, your legal tools, your wars and inconsistent approach toward weapons, your science and education, your media and your surveillance. For a long time I made excuses for you – you had bad parents…you weren’t healthy…you were working on yourself and didn’t have the bandwidth for anyone else right then…you just made a few mistakes…your friends had been a bad influence on you…maybe you were on drugs…it looked like nobody taught you how to manage money…too much education and not enough common sense…it was everyone else’s fault that you had to do those things… to suddenly asking, “Oh no…is he failing?!…to finally having to face the fact that you were showing signs of terminal dementia and were no longer capable of making your own decisions or managing day-to-day affairs.
I know you have been in hospice for a while, and I don’t know how much time we have left together, but I want you to know that I have desperately loved you – those proud stars and stripes as well as your mountains, lakes, valleys and plains! I am overflowing with gratitude for having had this time with you. You have been an inspiration, and you will go with me wherever I go. I want you to know that those of us you are leaving behind will forever hold you in our hearts. We will do our best to take care of the mountains, lakes, valleys, and plains, and we will strive in every way to honor your messages of freedom and change. If it were possible, I would change you instantly, here and now, healing you of all your ills just so I could still have you in my life. But I fear that our denial has led us to avoid taking action quickly enough, and already your body is shutting down…too many systems in full decline. Another stroke and it will probably be the end. I am not ready…nevertheless, I tell you now, fare thee well on your journey, my friend. You have been loved, and you will be greatly missed.
Your devoted daughter