Writing 101 Day 9: Reinvent the letter format

Dear Clara,

I am not sure if you will remember me I am Uncle Matthew’s daughter. I am taking part in a writing challenge this month and one of the tasks is to write a letter to someone who can’t respond.

You have been in my thoughts these last few months after Jo, my sis realised that the elderly couple she had known for a number of years were in fact the foster family who looked after you when you lived in England in the late 1970’s to mid 1980’s. For some reason the connection had just never been made. The couple had asked when she first meet them if she had known your family. I think perhaps the impact of your passing had a lasting effect on the family and your name became too painful to mention. Once the connection had been made the elderly couple had a new opportunity to share their memories with someone who was connected to your family.

I have a very strong memory of when you came to visit with your Dad you really enjoyed the opportunity to plait my younger siblings hair something that for me at the time was a tiresome chore. You were happy to help and soak in our young family vibe. I remember your positive vibes, your calmness and despite living in England for a number of years and the general belief at the time that two languages had a negative impact on children, you had a good command of the Yoruba language. You must have been in your first or second year of med school and uncle, your father was very proud. For a long time afterwards I would often over hear my mum on the phone asking after you or speaking to you in person asking how things were going.

It was about 20 years ago when news of your passing reached us a bright light extinguished crossing the precarious Lagos streets. It’s sad to think that your death meant that some wider family ties weakened for a time the sadness of your loss seemed to keep us apart. Jo meeting your foster family brought your memory back into full focus, siblings who had never known you learnt about you and my parents shared more stories of you and life back then. Family ties are being renewed and your memory will continue to shine bright.


N.B. Names have been changed.


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