Monday, December 27, 2010

Memoir Monday: The Letter.

Alright, so I haven't done one of these in a while. While I don't expect anyone to join up, I am taking Memoir Monday out of the closet, dusting it off, and putting it on the wall again for at least this week. So grab a cup of cocoa, sit back, relax, and read the tales of my average life that I put a humorous spin on. 

I'll never forget the first day I read his words. I had just graduated high school, and my mom handed me a note and 3 crisp $100 bills. The note was dated August 28th, 2000. 

It was from my dad, who had been dead for 8 months. 

The line that got me, the line that still gets me to this day was this: 

"I'm writing this in case I'm not alive for your graduation." 

My dad, thinking ahead as usual, had decided to put some money back for me to go on a trip as a reward for graduating. I never took that trip, mostly because I had other things to try to take care of. 

Then...I lost that letter. 

For the past 7 or 8 years, I've been wondering where it could be. Not searching high and low, exactly. Just kind of hoping it would turn up one day. Then, on Christmas Eve, I got the best present I could have ever asked for. 

I was going through the garage at my mom's house when I stumbled across what looked like a journal my dad had kept for the last few months of his life. Turns out, that's exactly what it was. I started to read a few excerpts, and I quickly realized I wasn't going to be able to keep it together. I smuggled the notebook out to my car, and later that night when I got home I started reading. 

I really want to publish some of his words on this blog. I think the "world" as it relates to me needs to read a few of the things he wrote. However, that is a conversation that needs to take place with my mom, and it's not one that will turn out well for either of us, simply because it's still too painful. 

However, after turning a few pages, I found the note. 

A smile cracked my tear stained face, and I did a dance of joy in my soul. On the page stood his handwriting, all in caps, signature Brian Sloat writing style, and telling me that he was proud of me and how much he loved me, and that I needed to look after mom.

I've gotten some pretty amazing gifts in the last few years, but this was by far the best Christmas I've had in a long time.

It also reinforced my belief that all parents should be writing some kind of letter to their children. Write more than one. Write a bunch. Tell them everything that is going on. Tell them you love them. Tell them you're proud of them. Because I can promise you, one day they are going be thankful you did that. 

Here's to 2011, and the hope that a new year always brings. 


  1. What an amazing gift, Travis. I'm so happy that you found that and have it to help keep him alive in your heart! Merry Christmas, my friend!

  2. The tears started to roll. I agree...make sure you leave behind a lot of tangible memories for your children.

  3. What a fantastic story! Even in my ├╝ber cranky mood that I've been in all day (I blame the Lebanese food last night; garlic sauce = NOT my friend) I got kinda misty eyed, but mostly I smiled- thanks for that. ♥

  4. That is incredible! Wow, and inspiring... I need to start writing little letters to my kids. I wish my mom would have done that for me.

    Merry Christmas!

  5. Aww Travis I had done so well and here you go and make me all weepy eyed again. I am so glad that you found that this Christmas

  6. What a beautiful post Travis! I think I'll go write a letter...

  7. This is very good advice. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I think I'm going to choose a date every year to write letters. Maybe my birthday or their birthdays plus New Year's Eve or maybe keep a scrapbook journal of my kids like the one a friend suggested I do about my Dad after he died.

  8. That is an awesome idea. I'm glad you found the letter and the journal, my friend, is priceless.

  9. I think it's amazing that you found the letter in his journal. It sounds like your Dad is still looking out for you. Sometimes the best gifts in life are free. Merry Christmas, Travie!

  10. I know exactely how you felt finding your dad's journal and letter!!! My aunt sent me the last letter my mom to her wrote before she died. My name was in it...and oh how wonderful it felt to read it!! I have also read several letters my dad wrote sine he died. I have been thinking about doing this for a long time. I even received 2 notebooks for Christmas one year that I was going to use to write for each daughter. That's been around 2 years ago and not a word is written in them. I will make 2011 my year to start writing my feeling and memories about each of my daughters! I know when I am gone it will be something they treasure! Thanks for writing this post otherwise I probably wouldn't have remembered!!


The price for my stories is your conversation.