A Letter to Bert   

(written February 7, 2000 – about five months before she died from her daughter in-law, Toni Fine)


You said something last week about you having your affairs in order, but that we didn't because someone needed to know where to find things in your home. That got me to thinking. I felt I wouldn't have my affairs in order until I wrote this letter.


I want you to know how much I love you - but that will not happen easily because I will never find enough words.  Your soul is pure and beautiful and without guile. The beauty of your soul comes through in the way you live your daily life. You are uncanny in your perceptions; seeing things in people that are hidden from many of us. You are one of the most honest, fair, and direct persons I know. Your will and ability to be "independent” is amazing.


I believe having the privilege of knowing you has shaped me in ways I may never clearly identify, but I still know that you are the source of many of them. You appreciate things in life and about life that are simple and at the same time rich in beauty.


I admire your ability to adjust to changing times, to try new things with enthusiasm, and to genuinely get excited about new ideas. Your laughter is one of your most compelling qualities. It is very playful and infectious.


You are most definitely a major part of the heart of our family. I know that your grandchildren have a very special place in their hearts for you. They enjoy your company, limited as it is by distance.


I admire your ability to communicate across generations with ease and grace. Speaking with you is a combination of talking with a beloved grandmother, mother, sister, and friend - something few people can do. You and your sisters are a testimony to living with dignity, grace, and love.


You are a gift to all of us. I know I speak for the entire family when I thank you for your rich presence in our lives. I thank you for your warm-hearted embrace of your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, and nephews demonstrated by your tireless love and coveted cookies. While this kind of gushing is not comfortable for you, some things just have to be said.

All my love,  [Toni ]