My 3 Cents   


How important is the written word? The exchange of feelings? Are we truly too busy to write? With the advent of email there is really no excuse not to share a moment with a friend or family member. No need for an envelope or stamp or even a pen. It’s as quick as a text, but hopefully more thoughtful. There’s also the advantage of a “longer than text” email printed and saved for the future. A time in your life when you want to relive a special moment.

I received the email below after sending out My 3 Cents (“Thanks, PINK!” October 27, 2023) to those on my list. It’s always a treat to hear back from readers who are inspired (or inclined) to share their feelings.

This return email was different.

On 2023-10-28 06:49, wrote:

Dear Rebecca –
I am home in hospice now after two weeks in the hospital dealing with the
aftereffects of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, and Congestive Heart
Failure.  Supposedly, I have one to two months.  I am totally wasted, so not
much energy for memorable messages to dear old friends.  But it’s fun to
imagine you baking in the kitchen and dancing around.  I’d love to join you.
I’d love to just SEE you.  But that is not to be.
My daughter, Kabrina, has been a rock buying me equipment, supplies, food,
helping Julie, keeping my spirits up, and dealing with the hospice folks.
We just started last Monday, so just learning the ropes.  The gratifying
thing is that I have heard from so many colleagues telling me how my writing
on climate change has been so influential and helpful.  That means a lot,
and thanks to you.
I don’t know where we go from here or whether I’ll see you eventually
through the veil, but I’m open for any new adventure.  No fear or remorse.
You have been a big plus in my life.  I never knew what to do with a good
friend because I never really had one before.  A cup of tea and
conversation looking out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a priceless
memory.  Give my love to Kay and tons of hugs and loves to you.  See you
sometime ahead.  Don


Don and I had been friends since he attended my writing class at the Old School House in Sequim.

We met many times for tea and talks about the world. We had dinner with our respective spouses,

in Washington and in Illinois after he and Julie moved to the Chicago area.

I had no idea how much our relationship meant to him and was moved to tears when reading

his note. I immediately printed it so I could have his missive close at hand. Then I responded by email.

Subject:  Do me a favor – be Jimmy Carter                                                                                                                                                    From: Rebecca Redshaw                                                                                                                                                                                  To: Don Wilkin                                                                                                                                                                                                      Date: 2023-10-28   11:33


Dear Don,

When I see an email from you in my queue, I always open it first. Our friendship is more important to me than you’ll ever know. You (and Charlotte Watts) are so brilliant and aware of the world that I always wonder what I can bring to the preverbal table, but whatever it is, I’m glad we not only met, but kept in touch over the years.

I remember listening to one of your first stories in class about your experience in Africa. It was wonderful. We exchanged so many family details at Renaissance (a place that closed years ago) that I feel you actually have had conversations with my brother! He’s my only sibling now, since my sister Jennifer died about two months ago. She was the Mormon matriarch and the last time we met (I went to Utah for our birthdays and took her to lunch) where she asked me if I “believed in God?” Never one to let an opportunity to slip by, she asked if I didn’t want to see Mom and Dad and other family members long gone.

Truthfully, I didn’t want to tell her if Aunt Gladys was in heaven, I’d just as soon pass.

But when you posed the possibility, I confess, I had second thoughts. I have no idea what happens. I suppose no one does, although some true believers are adamant. I always thought reincarnation seemed plausible. But I never thought much beyond the obvious desire to come back as a dog or a butterfly. I’ve always considered myself an “old” soul and have been attracted to other “old” souls. Hope you don’t mind, I’ve included you in the club!

Two years after my mother died, I was working in the studios in Los Angeles and saw a small ad looking for hospice volunteers. This would have been in the late 70’s, long before AIDS and the awareness of hospice. As it turned out, I was one of six volunteers involved with Cedar-Sinai Hospital’s inaugural hospice program. For three years, I arranged time off work to attend meetings with oncologists, social workers, a psychiatrist, and five other volunteers. Each of us was assigned one patient for whatever the duration. I met and “worked” with six patients over the next three years. Hospice has now become an accepted and necessary part of our health journey. I am sad that your well-being requires hospice, but happy whomever is involved can be there for you and Julie.

I am here for you. You are always on my mind in and in my heart.

Love,                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Rebecca


Why am I sharing these very personal emails? To say, “Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with someone close.” We have the technology to immediately tell a person we care about them, to tell them we love them. I feel so fortunate to be able to reread letters, and now printed emails, from the past. Don’t hesitate.

                                                                   Note: Don died November 16, 2023.