Friday’s Weekend Column
Some Times You Have No Choice

by James Glaser
September 18, 2004

Some jobs are fun and some jobs are hard, but it is very seldom that you can say that a job is an honor. I have a job this week which will be a real honor to do. It will be hard, it will be emotional, and I think it will be very rewarding.

A woman called me out of the blue asking me if I would help her write six love letters to her children. I told her that I wasn't really into children's love letters, but I would give her some pointers over the phone if she liked. She explained to me that she is dying of cancer, she is a 36 year old single mother with three children, and she wanted each to have a letter from her at graduation from high school and one when they got married.

What could I say? The whole idea of doing this all of a sudden became something very special and I felt honored that she would ask me. When I got off the phone I started to think about how I was going to do this and then it hit me what a big job this will be.

Something like this is a one time shot and you have to get it right. I am hoping that this woman will be able to give me enough of herself, so that these are really her letters and I am only putting her thoughts and love into the words she might have chosen herself.

I am thinking that I will spend a day talking to her, making notes, and asking lots of questions. I guess the most important one is what is she trying to do with these letters? I will then sit down and do some heavy thinking about how I would write this to my own children.

She said she had a computer, so I will be able to sit at the keyboard and write out each letter as she talks to me. I told her that these have to be her letters and I would only be putting her words, thoughts, and love into a coherent form that had her personality show through.

This is going to be hard, it is not going to be fun, but I think I will feel good about it when we are done. I never thought or even imagined I would ever have a job like this, but now that the initial shock is over, I am looking forward to doing it.

If anyone has ever done this before and wants to give me a pointer, I would appreciate it.

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