In the middle of the following day, I remembered about my little project and thought I’d see if anyone had responded. I was SO excited when two people had already emailed their letters. Hot diggity!
The next several weeks were hard because I normally share my enthusiasm for things with Matt. I’d find myself ready to blurt out, “Oh I got another letter today!”, and then realizing, “Oh yeah, that’s right, he doesn’t know about that.” When you have zero secrets with someone, even keeping a “good” secret is a bit unnerving.
The deadline came, and I had twenty-something letters sitting in my designated email inbox. Then a few days after the deadline, I had three people ask if it was too late. No! A few days after that, two more people sent theirs in.
So now I had all these letters, which I hadn’t looked at, done anything with in those six weeks. Just let them “pile up”.
Now I was like, “Okay, you’ve GOT to finish what you started.” The task seemed daunting.
Thankfully, I had my aunt to help me talk through how the final product should look.
Should every letter have its own page, even if it’s a short letter? (yes)
Should everything be in the same font? (no, font choices are like handwriting)
How should the letters be organized? (by categories—family, friends, colleagues)
Should there be anything that unifies the letters? (same margins and same paper)
Should I edit/correct anything? (spelling, but not syntax or grammatical stuff)
I waited for Matt to go to bed, and I got to work. This was the first time that I read any of the letters, and I had to keep stopping. They were so thoughtful, so wonderful, so rich, so overwhelming.
All the different voices, different perspectives. And yet common themes, similar observations of who Matt is, from his friend he’s had since they played in a sandbox together, to his newest colleague, and everyone in between.
I remember thinking, “Okay Bridgett, this is Matt’s gift. You cannot freak out and upstage his gift with your blubbering emotions. Remember to have restraint and leave him alone to experience all of this.”
To be continued in my next post