When my husband died at the age of 36, I received a bear hug of written support and condolences. Literally hundreds of detailed notes, heartfelt cards and lengthy letters poured in from friends, family, neighbors and his patients. Their memories and observations of Robert in all his roles and at his most vibrant are captured from many angles and chronicled lovingly for my daughters and me. Together they are a eulogy turned tribute in ink. As today would have been his 60th birthday, I am untying the bundles and leaning into the feelings they unleash.

Many are handwritten. Most are typed on a typewriter. Some are printed from a computer. It was 1997 and just before the era of hand-held technology that ushered in microcomputers called cell phones. Typewriters were not yet obsolete and PCs not yet ubiquitous. And I grateful for that. I haven’t lost a smidgeon of support to the black hole and fleeting nature of electronic communication.

In the 23 years since Robert’s death, I have dipped into this time capsule at certain milestones in my and my daughters’ lives and moments of transition, celebration or exhaustion. That period is still the one that defines me – my principles and preferred lifestyle. This treasure trove calls up memories that ground me and serve as a point of reference to bridge my past and my future – any grandchildren I might be blessed to nurture or a new path I might blaze. It’s a spiritual 23 & Me – the family Robert and I created, our choices, core values and rituals. Robert’s time was brief but his impact indelible.

Lisa Bernard is retired from two rewarding careers. Now based in Litchfield County, Connecticut, she spends her time musing and writing about the wildlife in her habitat and her travels on horseback. She can be reached at LisaBernardWriting@gmail.com.

One thought on “The Permanence of Ink Across Life and Death

  1. Beautifully & lovingly written as always! You have incredibly verbalized so much of things I think about as I go about the daily chores of life . They are fleeting memories but yours really got my heart!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s