I woke up a few days ago and knew it was time
for me to write a deeply emotional thank you letter
to some beautiful human beings
who had given exceptional service.
Earlier in the week, I had had the experience
of holding the hand and speaking softly in the ear of my best friend
for two and a half hours as he lay dying.
I was blessed to be there
in his home
holding him close as his heartbeats slowly ceased.
His daughter and I had known his death was coming.
That morning when he had a downturn
she called our local volunteer fire department.
A team of four men came immediately,
arriving right before me.
They gently lifted my beloved friend
from his chair
onto a cot by the window
where he could lay peacefully.
They gave him oxygen, making him more comfortable.
They treated him with utmost tenderness and respect.
They made sure he was able to die with dignity.
in those slow sad painful days that followed
as I was grieving my friend,
it came to me that I needed to write these firemen a letter.
I remembered that post I wrote:
When is writing a letter by hand essential?
and realized: this is one of those times.
So I sat down and wrote it, and delivered it by hand.
Today I had the thought
that it might be good to share my letter with you
in case writing a deeply emotional thank you letter
is hard for you.
If it is, I hope reading mine may encourage and assist you.
I hope you will feel more free to share your heart
when you are moved to thank others
for their loving actions.
To the firemen
who came to the aid of John _____ ,
I am thankful for each one of you.
Your kindness, grace and professional assistance
was a blessed gift to him
and to those of us who loved him.
Your presence was so comforting.
You held and guided the situation with quiet strength.
You came exactly when you were needed,
contributed greatly to John’s comfort and peace,
and you departed when your kind mission
I admire each one of you, and you all as a team,
for the precious contribution to our community
that you make by giving us all this service.
I looked at each of you as you gave us your best
and I thought: this is what an honorable man is.
It was very painful to have to say goodbye to John,
but you strengthened us with your presence.
May God bless you and keep you
Thank you for reading and thinking about my letter.
It gave me a lot of peace to write it.
I hope you will let me know what you find hardest
about writing a deeply emotional thank you letter,
and whether reading mine made it feel more doable.