Olive's Birthday Gift to Matilda
Today, my lovely readers, I present the last of Olive’s words I have for you. It's a letter she must have written to Matilda to go along with the gift of the journal. It's sweet, heartwarming, and a perfect conclusion to these excerpts I've shared over the past two weeks. Here it is:
July 12, 1890
My dear and only sweet sister, Matilda!
You know I’m much better at writing thoughts than speaking them, so I shall let this letter speak for me on this occasion—this celebration of all you are and have been. Sister. Champion! Defender! A mother when our own couldn’t stay. A guiding voice for when I dared to face the world. A safe haven for when I was too afraid to face myself.
Every day I learn from you a little of what it means to be strong, but I know how hard it can be to see that strength in yourself. I hope the thoughts I’ve collected in this journal will help you remember what you’ve overcome and see how you changed each one of us along the way. You have changed us, and I am ever grateful for that.
Some of these memories are difficult. Some of them are more perilous than even I can understand. But they’re also honest. And real. They’re a testament to our defiance when forces known and unknown conspired against us. To our win. To our wounds. These memories are part of who I was. Who I am. Who I will be thanks, in part, to you.
Most of all, these memories are mine. And now, with this journal I return to you with every page now filled, these memories are yours too.
I hope they give you the same peace they gave me. I hope these words help you to always see yourself the way I do.
I feel like I need to catch my breath after the emotional roller coaster she took me on. All the twists and turns in her imaginative head. What a ride! I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did, and I’m so grateful for this treasure Aunt Elaine gifted me.
But this selection of fancies from a nineteen-year-old woman’s head hardly tells the whole story. There was a lot I found between the pages I chose to include here—other entries I could barely make sense of about those years Olive’s family spent in New Westminster and the disappearance of Nathaniel, the looming presence of what Olive frightfully held back from the pages but couldn’t erase altogether, and some things I pieced together on my own. Strange and thrillingly nightmarish things. Magical things. Sweet, romantic moments in the in-between. There was far too much in that journal. Enough for a whole novel!
And it deserves one. Olive never got to publish the story she was writing about her sister, and that might be the biggest shame of all. I think it’s time to reveal that tale to the world, don’t you?
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