A Fragrant Aroma – Final Gift

Donzell Reid Effron 1922-2011

We attended the funeral of a lifelong friend’s mother on Monday.  It was expected, as she had been declining for weeks.  She was 89 and had lived a full, vibrant life.  Her children and grandchildren shared their thoughts and memories with all of us as lots of tears were shed.

No one expected the final letter.  It was from her – the deceased.  She had written this letter back in 1991 and left instructions for it to be read at her funeral.  The one chosen to read was her granddaughter.  As we waited for her to begin there wasn’t a sound in the chapel.  The anticipation was palpable.

I can’t tell you everything she said, but one line I will never forget:

“If you are wishing I had told you I loved you one more time, or that I forgive you or anything else I didn’t say to you – please hold on to it, and I will say it to you when I see you again.”

How kind of her to think of those in her family who may have had regrets.  This one sentence took the pressure off of the “If only’s” and “what if’s” and placed them where they belonged.  By saying this to her family she communicated more than directions, but a deep love for where they would go from here.  She didn’t want them tied to the past, but she set their eyes forward to eternity.  What wisdom; what kindness; what love.

How can we emulate her? 

First of all, we could take the time to write a letter, like hers, to be read to our family after we are gone.  What would you say?  How would you choose to comfort them?  Such a legacy of love would be greatly appreciated I’m sure.  We found an e-book that helps your write your own Legacy Letter. You can purchase if for only $12.95.  That’s not very expensive, but to those who receive it, it’s value would be priceless!

Secondly, we read this week on The Generous Wife blog about Dave Ramsey’s Legacy Drawer.  The idea is to have one drawer with everything your family would need in case of your death.  His website lists the various items to include.

Photo Credit: daveramsey.com

We don’t mean to be morbid, but after spending the week talking about our “What if’s” and “If only’s” it seemed the appropriate post to share with you today.  One thing is certain – we will all die.  It’s up to us how we prepare our family and loved ones to thrive with no regrets.  And putting together such a drawer will help us today to measure our lives against the backdrop of eternity.  Are we ready?  If not, let’s prepare ourselves because none of us know the day when we will take our final breath.  song

Do you like the idea of writing such a letter?  How prepared are you to fill a Legacy Drawer?  How prepared are you for eternity?

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9 Responses to A Fragrant Aroma – Final Gift

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank yo both for being there on this day. Your love and support and kind words mean so much. You are so correct as to where the focus should be. To think of our fond memories and our eyes forward on the time we will reunite. Thank you for the blog. Thank you for your love and thank you for sheding light on where we should focus more of our thoughts. It is challenging but I will try to hold dear her words and do as she wishes. Such an amazing and wise woman! Love her so much. Great ideas to get our legacy letter and drawer prepared. 🙂 Chanelle


    • Debi Walter says:

      It was a privilege to be a witness to such an amazing day. I love you bunches, Chanelle. Always have…I’ll continue to pray for you and your family in the days and weeks ahead. They won’t be easy, but God will help you.


  2. I love the idea of a legacy drawer. Thanks, Debi.


  3. What a great blog, Debi. I too have often wondered about the ” what if’s” and the “did I’s”….I will start a legacy drawer and I will write that letter. I want no one to grieve over me when I’m gone and think they might have done better by me. I want them all to know I am in a better place much greater than they can imagine!
    Thanks again and I love this site!
    Your friend,


    • Debi Walter says:

      Thank you so much, Kathy! Your encouragement means so much to us! We’re glad you’re enjoying our Vineyard!
      Tom and Debi


  4. I could see writing such a letter, especially being a lover of the written word and one who pens it. And to think she wrote ten years before her passing is truly telling of just how much emotions, feelings, family dynamics, etc. can be timeless.
    Thank you, Debi for sharing this poignant and poetic account.


  5. Sandy Traugott says:

    Thank you, Debi, for this sweet post. I knew I had written my kids and it was in my fireproof safe – just read it … and forgot I had written it on July 2, 1999 … the exact day, 3 years later on July 2, 2002 is when Daniel went to be with our Lord. Wow. It has been a while so Donzell and you have motivated me to write an updated letter. Heaven is closer than all of us think and we never know our day to walk through that door into our eternal home. Love to you, and all of Donzell’s family!


    • Debi Walter says:

      With tears in my eyes, I thank you for sharing this with us, Sandy. You are one woman I hope to be like one day. Your life glorifies God in a way that both challenges and inspires me.
      Love you,


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