You say I don’t praise you enough publicly, to our friends and family. So, here goes…
You are the most wonderful person I know, inside and out.
Your moral and ethical values are exemplary for everyone (except for eating sweet food…). Not only do you have great values. You think carefully about the big issues of life, that much such a difference to having a just and equitable and sustainable society. You speak out on unpopular issues so that even I – who talk a good game – wonder if you’ve gone too far in articulating your views. But I admire your courage and know you’ve taken many hits when others haven’t liked what you’ve said or done. And you practise what you preach. It’s not just talk. You follow up with action, wherever you can.
I love you too because you challenge me. You improve the quality of my own thinking, my own actions. You point out when I’m wrong. You suggest better ways of operating, better decisions, better actions. And then I love you because you are my biggest supporter, even when I’m difficult to love and like.
I admire too the great range of areas of interest, of talents that you have. Your drawing, your writing, your marketing and communication skills, your food preparation and particularly your food presentation skills, your gardening knowledge, your musical ability and knowledge, your art, craft and culture knowledge and skills and much more. Your creativity is legendary. The parties you’ve hosted, the games you’ve developed, the food you’ve created from leftovers. And I love your hatred of waste, of over-consumption, of materialism.
Your kindness and generosity are legendary amongst friends, and there are also many secret and quiet ways in which you are kind and generous that most of our friends don’t know about. You are always thinking of others, always doing something for others, always there when friends need you, always offering something to everyone you meet.
You’re so generous with your time and efforts and money. You offer our house to friends to stay and use. You find things that people need and buy it for them. You make posies from your garden flowers to take to friends whenever you can. You make food for friends and family. You look after grandchildren, the whole extended family, including me, and many people who are not well, to the point of exhaustion and even to the risk of your own health. You’re even generous to strangers, giving things away, bringing brief unexpected moments of joy to their lives.
You’re such an optimistic person, always seeing positive ways of making people happy, of using your time, of solving problems, however many barriers are put in your way, however much people say ‘No’ or ‘It can’t be done’. You bring great cheer to everyone you meet, all the time. Your level of energy and enthusiasm is a joy to everyone you meet.
And I love your body too, the outside of you! I never tire of holding you, touching you, kissing you. I admire the way you have cared for your body, without becoming enslaved by look or fashion, especially since you’ve had to cope with the failures of your body over long periods of time. You could have just given up, but you’ve fought through eye and ankle and knee and back and ear problems, finding ways to overcome or deal with the issues as much as possible.
So, Jude, I love and admire you, for so many reasons, but particularly for your strength as an individual, not (just) as a support to me or others. If I haven’t shown that sufficiently in public, I’m profoundly sorry. I’m sure our friends know it. Hopefully this letter goes some way to compensate for past and any future failures on my part.
With much love.