Friday, August 26, 2011

Dear Edith

Mom read this article a couple of days ago and shared it with me. It's a very touching story I never thought existed... Read along...


Dear Edith

Gentle Breeze
By ATTY. NELLY FAVIS VILLAFUERTE
August 21, 2011, 8:00am
MANILA, Philippines — This is a touching story on forgiveness that has been told and retold for decades. The main characters of this story are Karl, a government warehouse worker, and his wife for 25 years, Edith. They were a loving couple. Karl never failed to write Edith a long letter every night that he was on an out-of-town assignment and Karl sent small gifts to Edith. In 1949, the US government sent Karl to Okinawa for a few months to work on a warehouse. To keep herself busy, Edith bought a small unfinished cottage hoping to complete the construction by the time Karl returned. As weeks went by, the arrival of Karl’s letters became more seldom. Until a Dear Edith letter from Karl brought bad news. Karl wrote Edith that he had finally ended his marriage with Edith; that he already got a divorce by mail; and that he had already married Aiko, a 19-year-old Japanese girl – a maid assigned to Karl’s quarters. By then Edith was 48 years old. Edith was devastated but not bitter against Karl.
* * *
While in Japan, Karl wrote Edith now and then – like when he and Aiko were expecting a baby; when Marie was born in 1951. And when another baby girl Helen was born in 1953. Edith, for her part, sent Marie and Helen small presents. During all these times, Edith had still strong hope that Karl would go back home to her.
* * *
Edith did not hate Karl or Aiko. She rationalized Karl’s behavior as that of a lonely man far from home. Deep in her heart, Edith believed that the marriage between Karl and Aiko would not last long due to the age gap and the culture differences. In the meantime, Edith continued working in a factory.  Until one day, a Dear Edith letter from Karl brought the sad news that he was dying of lung cancer. In that letter, Karl expressed his fear that nobody would take care of Aiko, Marie, and Helen when he died. Understandably so. Because by then, Karl’s savings had been being depleted by his medical expenses.
* * *
Edith, out of compassion and to give peace of mind to Karl whom she still dearly loved despite his abandoning her for another woman, reassured Karl that she would take the two girls to live with her in Massachusetts if Karl wouldl die. Initially, Aiko resisted. In 1956, Aiko agreed. The two girls adjusted fast to American life. And amazingly, the two girls brought so much joy to Edith. Living alone in Japan, Aiko wrote sad letters to Edith and expressed her homesickness for the two girls. Edith, as a final expression of her love for Karl decided to get Aiko to live with her and the two girls in the US. There was a problem though. Aiko was a Japanese citizen. Edith was not discouraged.
Finally, through the help of one newspaper reporter (and others who responded to Edith’s story as narrated by the newspaper reporter in his column in one well-known newspaper),  Edith was able to arrange to bring Aiko to the US.
The picture of a frail, small, and fearful lady coming off the plane at New York’s International Airport melted whatever remaining hate Edith had for Aiko. The Japanese lady rushed into the arms of Edith after standing and clutching the railing of the plane for sometime. While they held each other, Edith had this thought: “Help me Lord to love this girl as if she were part of Karl.”
* * *
Dear Edith is an amazing and a heartfelt story of  forgiveness and selflessness. Instead of being bitter, vindictive, angry, and unforgiving, Edith showed love. She demonstrated forgiveness that comes from the heart. (This information was culled from a story appearing in a book by the late Norman Vincent Peale, a Christian preacher, motivational speaker and author)

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