Written Words

Can change your life.

Dear Abbi,

the letter began, something so typical I didn’t even  but skim the flowing cursive.

I can only sit here and cry with regret as I remember your parting words. It’s been over two years since you last contacted me, and I know it’s my fault. I was so hateful; unsupportive. If only you knew of my regret.

I felt my heart clench.

I finally found your address, and wanted nothing more than to drive halfway across the country to see you myself, but I paused. You have built a new life, pursued your dreams, and I want nothing but the best for you, and I fear my return would only upset you. So I’m writing you this letter, with my sincerest of apologies, with the hopes one day you’ll forgive me. I love you more than anything in this whole world. I wish I had remembered that before my cruel words sent you away.

I suddenly felt like an intruder, as the writer spilled their heart on the notebook paper. Such fancy writing looked out of place on regular, WalMart cheap paper.

So Abbi darling, please forgive me. Please know that I love you. That I’m deeply sorry. I cannot imagine living life without my only daughter speaking to me ever again, but I won’t force you in any way. I hope this letter reaches you…

                                                                     With all my love, mother

I looked at the date of letter, three years ago. How had I finally found it now? And what happened that this mother never mailed this letter to her only child?

Tears stung my eyes. I myself had left home, but when I returned, my mother had passed from cancer. I never got to tell her how sorry I was; that it wasn’t simply her fault alone. I was to blame, too.

I straightened my back, nearly banging my head on the stairs. How her letter ended up in the cubby-hole under the stairs, I’d never know. I had been living here for over a year, and just now found the letter… What if it were too late?

I looked at the address on the envelope. What if the daughter had moved?

I crawled out of the cramped space. Maybe they had been reunited and didn’t need the letter.

Or maybe they did, and I should mail it. That’s the least I could do for a seemingly still broken family.

And with that final thought, I hurried upstairs to my desk. I attached a note of my own, and then sealed both the note and letter inside. I placed a stamp on it, and hurried outside.

Forgiveness was hopefully possible for this family. I never had such closure, and wanted it more for this mother and daughter than anything ever before.


Writing 101, discovery of a letter.


All of the above is fictitious. I actually did once find a letter when I worked as janitor a few years ago. I kept it, somewhere. It was a woman begging God to know why she was here; how could she raise her kids, etc. It broke my heart, knowing somewhere in the building which I cleaned, was a woman so depressed, but not knowing how to seek help. Lost, but scared to find a map for fear of being a failure; fear of ridicule.

I prayed for her every night. I passed it along to my mom, and she prayed for her every night. I never knew which woman it was. I have no idea if things ever improved for her.

But sometimes written words have a stronger impact than spoken words. Because written words have a harder time lying.



  1. Nice work. The addition at the end was touching. And really speaks to the whole concept of finding a letter and getting this split second view of someone’s world. What I liked about your piece is that you introduced the letter, and as the piece went on you unravelled details as introduced to twists which, as a reader, prompted me to keep reading, following the strong almost, to where it leads. Nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

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