Sue and her daughter Lucy were on their way out, back to England after four days under the Tuscan sun. As we stood together having a last minute chat, I was gifted a magical story - and with their permission, I have the privilege of sharing it with you.
Sue was telling me about the one time she and her husband “who is not the adventurous type” had spent some time in the United States, in the 1970s.
It had started a year before, as they were hiking the windy cliffs near their hometown in Portland, England. On the trail somewhere, they had struck a conversation with a much older American couple, and had invited them over to their home. After some time together, a friendship developped and their new friends made them promise to visit them in Philadelphia, sooner than later.
Which, Sue tells me, they did. At this point, she turns to Lucy and asks: “didn’t we?” Lucy nods and answers: “yes, you did.” For some reason, I loved that.
The two couples had a beautiful time together. Sue and her husband got to visit New York, they met their American friends’ son - who was also older than them - and went home grateful for the continuing magic of the friendship. Over the years, they kept in touch with them and with their son Tom, and when the American couple died several years ago, they stayed in even closer contact with Tom.
Two weeks ago, Tom had called while on a trip to England with his partner. He wanted to spend time with Sue and her husband. Would they please meet them?
This story of ongoing friendship, over time, space and generations was filling my heart.
The way people meet, seemingly randomly (as if there was such a thing), and then carve a special place into each other’s lives, making them richer, sweeter, bigger. The seeds of gifts that hospitality plants, and the way these seeds bloom. The way all of us had met, too, under Marta’s roof.
And that’s when Sue turned once more to Lucy and asked: “do you fancy I can tell Laura why the two of them were in England?” Lucy smiled and nodded, and Sue, with a huge smile on her face, began telling me the following story:
Many, many years ago, Tom had met a well known American actress, and they had struck a deep friendship. My understanding is that even though they did not get to spend much time together after that initial meeting, the woman did meet Tom’s partner at some point and had grown a friendship with him as well. For decades, letters were exchanged across the Atlantic between them as the friendship grew. Having seen the play “Love always, Patsy,” my mind was soaked with the flavor of such a relationship, and with the awe of people who make time for something so wonderful, in a world of rapid firing texts and WhatsApp.
Last year, when the actress had died, she had left the two men “a Hollywood will,” and every three months since then, Tom and his partner had continued to receive a letter from their friend. A very special letter.
Each letter was written by her, and each one notified them of a special gift they were to receive. Once, they were given two seats at the ballet anywhere in the world, all expenses paid. Both men being artists, and now in their 80s, this had been a huge delight. Then, there was the cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2, with one of the best suites on board. There had also been the invitation to go to a Lexus car dealership “and pick their favorite one.”
This month, they had been told to pack for a one week trip to London, as they were to get picked up at the airport and driven to the Savoy Hotel, where a butler was waiting for them. Which brings us back to why and how they were hoping to spend time with Sue and her husband. From what I was told, the two men weren’t quite sure what to ask of the butler.
I was floored. The friendship, and how it had kept on living, over decades. The thoughtfulness and delightfulness of this woman, and the way she had prepared to continue to enchant and wow her friends, after she was gone. The humor, the generosity. Sure she could have left them a chunk of cash - but where would be the whimsy in that?
And sure, we can have all kinds of opinions about the expense and what-else-could-she-have-done-with-it-to-better-the-world? Which, really is none of our business.
So here you go. Life. Relationships. Surprises. And taking the time to share stories with each other.
I love it all so much.
Share on Facebook
Receive my blog posts straight into your inbox
Schedule a Happiness Coaching Session
Essential Happiness Retreat
January 10 to 20, 2019
Guadeloupe, French Caribbean
"Thank you for sharing your wonderful, heartbreaking, exhilarating experience with the world."
"Thank You Laura for sharing, for teaching and spreading loving kindness. "
"I think I love you. You bring good things into my life, or remind me of things I love and know, but have let go of."
"Laura, you are so good for me. I laugh and sniffle and get the shivers when I read your essays. Thanks so much for letting all your wonderfulness run around loose."
"Heart-achingly beautiful, your words and how you reveal your truth."
"Thank you so much for who you are and what you share with the world. Your mere being transforms lives as it has transformed mine. This particular post did to my heart what water does to parched soil."
"Thank you for your gentle words that are packed full of wisdom. I have been struggling with the concept of what words can do to another person when they are negative words. Your words are the flip side of our word power, and shows how delightfully powerful kind words can be. Thank you."
"Once again Laura Lavigne takes you on an adventure of the heart. She has a way of pulling you right in the car with her. Asking you to consider changing a fear to taking thoughtful action. Whether she's teaching a class, leading a retreat or heading for a happiness sprinkling, Laura will invite you to shed old ways of thinking and be completely authentic. Join in!"
"Essentially pure love.
I enjoy how Laura is kind to herself and to us other humans who dance in and out of each other's lives. "
"Don't miss a post!
You can count on Laura for warmth, humor, charm, and a lift to your day and your heart. She inspires me to be braver than I am, and to love the world out loud. She's a gem, and a generous one at that!"
I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.