I’ve never been that great at keeping in contact. I know that, my family knows that, my pen pals know that.
Heck, practically the whole world knows that… if I have a reason to keep in contact with them. 😉
But there are other people out there who are better at it than me.
See, I have this friend I knew in North Dakota, back when my dad was in the military.
This friend was a teacher at my high school.
She wasn’t my teacher… she taught German and Spanish, and I never took any language classes until after we’d moved again. But I knew her through my sister.
This teacher shared many of my interests: we both loved wolves, and tigers, and animals in general. We both loved visiting the zoo. We both loved to read. And while we didn’t both love to write (at least, I don’t know that she was interested in writing), she certainly encouraged me to keep writing. She encouraged me to keep reaching for my dreams, no matter the obstacles.
Our family worried, last year, when we’d learned of the flooding in our old town.
We wondered if this teacher had been in the area at the time, or if she lived elsewhere and was safe.
We wondered this about many of our old friends from the area, but we never heard from her.
So, even as bad as I was at keeping in contact, I tried to keep contact with her, even after we moved.
My mother, however, was far better at it than I: my mother sent her a Christmas letter every year.
My sister was better at it than I: my sister kept contact with many people we’d known in North Dakota.
The school was better at it than I: the school, which my sister had graduated from, and which I had spent most of my high school years at before we’d moved again, sent us a newsletter every year.
And just today, we received a note from this teacher’s family.
She had died of lung cancer… two years ago.
So, two years late, I have this to say:
Thank you. Thank you for your encouragement, for your inspiration, for believing in me and reminding me to believe in myself.
Thank you for being there, for reminding me that I am a person of value, for teaching me to look beyond those obstacles.
Thank you for teaching me that my value is defined, not by the money I make, not by how other people try to define me, but by the value I see in myself and the things I do.
And the things I do, the writing especially, might never have come this far had it not been for your teaching.
Thank you. And whether I become a published author or not, whether I become a professional author or not, I consider my writing a success because I enjoy doing it. And I would like to dedicate that success to you.