bittersweet memories - personal || destination photographer

this morning i decided to go thru the 2 boxes in my i KNEW what was in them, organize them and pack them up so they would be ready, eventually, for their long trek across the pacific in a few short months.

what i didn’t expect was the well of emotions that surfaced as i opened it..old journals, my first smurf figurine i bought with 200 pennies when i was in grade 3, my two running medals, some ukrainian necklaces, art my sister made for me, necklaces my kids made me, cards and letters that i chose to keep from those close to my heart.

and then there was a stack of envelopes. airmail envelopes. all with the same wobbly writing saying “mr & mrs jonathan heppner, box 574, 1503 greenhills, mm, philippines”.

sigh. my great grandma emily. she wrote me about 6x a year all the years we were in manila from 1996-2001. she told me how she was doing, how her bingo winnings were, who came to visit her in her little apartment in new west. and she always asked how i was…how the babies at the birthing clinic my husband was..and when born, how caleb was.

my eyes filled with tears as i read. here my little great grandma took the time to pen me letters..letters that now, are priceless to me. letters that were filled with love…filled with encouragement..filled with proud approval of what we were doing in manila, across the big ocean.

i know she prayed for us lots. worried for us steadily. and she wrote to us faithfully. i remember getting her letters in the mail..i was so excited..and i would hurry myself to my desk and reply to her as quickly as i could. i knew she was waiting on the other side for my letter in return.

as i sat today and read through a few letters until my heart couldn’t anymore because of the ache of missing her, i knew one thing: i was going to keep these letters forever..and remember. and know that today, she is still just as proud of me as ever.


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