One of the things I can’t yet face up to is clearing away lots of cards. I have 2017 Christmas cards received in one pile: I used them as the guide to sending my 2018 cards.
Then there are the 2018 cards received.
In yet another pile are the sympathy cards and letters that I received in September.
The saddest pile is the Get Well Soon collection - Eileen’s heart op on 31 August was apparently successful, but she died on 8th September just three days after discharge from hospital. One of those cards arrived late and is still unopened. I can tell that it is not a sympathy card from the postmark. Should I open it ?

On cards given between ourselves, Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Eileen and I usually wrote a little made-up rhyme, and maybe a little sketch, affectionate and funny (because I told you - We Used to Laugh a Lot). And, of course, we used to send each other cards from the dogs. It really upsets me to read them all now.
Our rhymes weren’t normally the things you’d remember for long, being just a bit of fun, and yet, and yet . . .

. . . In summer 1967 we were on the train from London Euston to Manchester, eating those Lyons Fruit Pies that came in individual cardboard boxes, the one thing almost indistinguishable from the other, and drinking British Railways coffee. To pass the time we were writing little rhymes to each other, passing them across the table that those old carriages had.
I have never, ever forgotten this one that Eileen wrote to me on that occasion over 51 years ago:

“Your eyes are blue,
Your hair is brown,
Your forehead always wears a frown.
Your ears are big,
Your nose is too.
Oh why oh why
Do I love you ?”

Why did she, indeed ?

Oh God, I miss her so very much.

Hello Edwin, Your post caught my eye. How moving is that poem your sweet wife penned for you all those years ago. I know you will cherish those words as a testament to the love and laughter that was so much a part of what you shared. My sister and I always exchanged cards for every occasion. I even had my own created online, so I could express my personal sentiments, rather than the standard Hallmark poems written by someone who did not know my sister as I did. When I painstakingly cleaned out her home, I gathered all of the cards she kept from me. I reread each one, and through my tears I recalled when I sent them and what celebration they marked. The last cards we exchanged were especially poignant. She had cancer at the time, and she gave me a card for my last birthday that included her written words about our special relationship. My last card to her was on her birthday as well, however she died suddenly only two days before her birthday, and never saw the beautiful card I had for her. I decided to purchase a large shadowbox, and I placed those last two cards, along with a few other meaningful items, in the box. I have it hanging on a wall where I can see it when I come in. Something you may consider perhaps? As to that unopened card, I suggest putting it aside until you are ready. I also found the “get well” cards and of course I have all of the condolence cards as well. It was heartwarming to see how many people were in her corner, and were praying for her recovery. You may also find that card to bring mixed emotions, hopefully comforting, when you finally do open it. We also sent cards from our cats. My, this got to be a long post.
I send caring thoughts, and thank you for sharing your inspiring love story. I find it so uplifting to know that type of love and devotion still exists. Take care. Sister2

Thank you. It’s so comforting to read replies like this. I would never have understood that five months ago: I have changed so much since then, I am a different man, and I wish I could be ( and could have been) a better one.

Oh Edwin
I have just come across these postings and they resonate so much.
I have hundreds of cards…many are from my children… sent to me on our travels across Spain and France…but my special collection are all the cards involving the man I love…Christmas cards to both of us, the cards and silly notes I sent to him and , most precious, the ones from him to me. And we too sent each other cards from our dogs and cats!
When I first sorted them I was at a similar time and place to yourself and many of them now have smudge marks where I cried all over them. I put a very special message under my pillow (where it has stayed ever since) and all the others in a box under my bed…I didn’t look at them for a long time but last birthday (my third on my own) I got out all the birthday cards that Barry had sent me and re read them…they made me cry and laugh at the same time! Similarly , his last Christmas card stood on my mantlepiece throughout December…and it was comforting to see it there.
The little poem that Eileen wrote you is beautiful…as are the stones you lay on her resting place. The last present that Barry ever gave me was a beautiful little notebook which I have yet to bring myself to write in…on the front page he wrote “In all your scribings, remember this…you are loved beyond measure.”
You too were loved beyond measure…treasure your cards.xxxx

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Dear Amelie’sgran, The lovely words on your notebook from your beloved Barry brought tears to my eyes. My sister also wrote in her last birthday card to me, about how much our bond meant to her. Our loved one’s written words are forever etched on our hearts. With Caring Thoughts, Sister2 Xxx

Here’s another of our daft rhymes. From me to Eileen, Christmas 2017, a blank card with a simple image of a super ice cream on the front.
(And to explain some context. . . . we enjoyed smoked mackerel for breakfast: Rog(er) and Lu(lu) are our dogs, who had a temporary predilection for chewing slippers, Lu had a second cruciate ligament operation coming up, and a new dental prosthetic plus a visit to Specsavers were on the horizon. )

“It’s Christmas Morn !
Let’s have kippers,
And Rog and Lu
Can eat our slippers !
But after spending all our cash
On canine lads and lasses
Let’s get a grip: get you some teeth
And me some proper glasses.”

I hope Eileen doesn’t mind me sharing these little things now. If she does, perhaps I’ll be getting the extractor fan on the bonce. (Pace, Sheila ! (-: )

I’ll never, ever write anything like that again.

You won’t believe this - in less than 30 minutes since writing the last post, I have been hit on the bonce by a vacuum cleaner!

Either Eileen telling me to keep things private, or a poetry lover !

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