Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Won't you join me?

A few weeks ago I learned of this beautiful project from my friend Monica's blog. I think it is a lovely gesture and wanted to join in. The letter's collected will be made into a book and sold for charity. 100 letters are needed, please check it out. It is called, "I never got to thank you".

After thinking a bit too hard of who to write about, one morning the answer was clear as day.Bill was right, it was the easiest letter I have ever written. I chose to thank my childhood friend who unknowingly guided me through awkward years and helped make me who I am today. Her name is Karen (Pluta)Gutowski and I have always thought of her as a sister. Monica shared her letter so I will too. Here goes;

My dearest Karen,

You can’t possibly know how much you have influenced my life. You were blessed with three sisters, I, none. Yet you made room in your heart to add another. I believe a person makes their way into the path of another for a reason. It was not a coincidence that we lived a mile apart. You were placed there for me.

I was a painfully shy, quiet, girl scared of life. You were a lively, intrepid, free spirit. For whatever reason, you somehow found me worth the effort and adopted me as your sister. You were the closest I would ever come to knowing what sisterly love was. Although you were younger, I looked to you as a leader.

Because of you I have many fond girlhood memories to treasure. Like the time you took me ice skating on your uncle’s property one sunny winter’s day. As I watched you gracefully glide across the ice I sat on a snow covered log with my new skates at my feet ashamed and fearful because I had never skated before. You must have known my secret. You sat by me and said, “The worst you can do is fall”. Then you stood up and pretended to fall several times until I was on my feet. Although I felt like a fawn standing for the first time, all wobbly and trembling, I felt like Dorothy Hamill that afternoon.

Growing up surrounded by boys and not having any fashion influence, I remember begging my mother to buy your cast off clothing at your yard sale so I would have something stylish. Then one day you commented on a shirt I was wearing from your sale. You said it looked better on me. I never wore it again because I didn’t want to look better than you. To me that was unkind. I could never do anything unkind to you.

I remember one day on the school bus a boy was teasing you until you cried. Seeing you in tears made my anger trump my shyness and I stood up and let him have it. No one was allowed to hurt my “sister”. He actually sat down and was quiet. At that moment, for the first time in my life I had a tiny taste of what it must be like to have been you. It was exhilarating and such a powerful and freeing feeling. What topped it was when you looked up and smiled. Who was to know later on that boy would end up being my first boyfriend?

Years later, soon after I became a mother you entered my life again. You must have sensed I needed a friend, someone who knew who I was before. You slipped right in to your “sister” role and became such a wonderful aunt. My son adored you and although you spoiled him terribly, his love for you was purely from whom you are, not what material things you gave. Your fun loving, patient and caring way you interact with children was yet another reason to admire you. The times we had long conversations and you said how much you envied my life, I wish you had known how much I envied yours. How I prayed to be as exuberant as you. Although I was deliriously happy in my role as wife and mother, deep inside I would always yearn to experience a day in your shoes. I envied your sisters for having you for their blood sister however; perhaps it is I who should be envied because I was a sister by choice.

Once again life happened and we drifted apart. You have become what you were destined to be, a caring person of comfort, a nurse. Once again giving yourself to others like no one else can. Someone I respect, love, and admire tremendously. This is what having a sister must feel like.

I never got to thank you for all the life lessons you taught me, the endless meaningful conversations we shared, and just for being you, the best sister and friend a gal could have, and I THANK YOU.

With much love and admiration,


  1. What a BEAUTIFUL tribute to your friend that was a sister to you all along! I believe it is you that should be envied because you were a sister by choice! She sounds like a person that had a huge heart and made the best friend. She will always live on in your heart and I like to believe that she knows!!!

    ~Lisa ;-)

  2. What a beautiful warm letter Pat. I have a friend of 53yrs that your letter could partially be written to her:) How wonderful your friend is:)

  3. ok, let me wipe my tear stricken eyes and say just how BEAUTIFUL you and your letter are.

    Knowing that friendship is truly a gift from God I tell you I know quite well how friends come in and out of your life like seasons.

    Pat, what a joy to read about your HERO, your SISTER.

    Ironically my sister and I fought like cats & dogs through our childhood, however TODAY she has become one of my very best friends.

    I remember wanting to borrow her clothes, to walk like her, to hang out with her friends... one night while the girls were curling thrie hair I creeped up and sat "all cool like" alongside them and pretended to be one of them for a MINUTE..

    but as luck would have it, I sat knee first right on the HOT curling iron and I jumped up faster than a cat finding warmth from a turned on car...


    Your story touched my heart... I'm embarrassed tosay this but I could not open your doc file, I begged & pleaded for my SISTER to reformat it for me and sadly was just told her husband is out of town for 3 days and he's the one to do it...

    so, I immediately ran to your blog HOPING you would have posted your letter

    and here it was.



    Thank you for sharing your story and your relationship with your SISTER with us.

    I can't begin to tell you how the pink artist project has made me feel like SISTERS with all of you too!

    Big hugs Pat! I wish you the best day today...

    your sister in art, Monica :)

  4. That's a lovely letter, Pat. I've been absent for quite a while, on another project, but had to stop in today, and what a nice thing to read when I did!

  5. Thank you for posting the letter you wrote Pat.
    I enjoyed reading it very much and even rested my face on my hand and leaned forward while "listening" to you.
    The sign of a good and heart capturing story.
    My heart was touched. I adore your honesty and must tell you that you are a great writer.
    Amber Dawn

  6. This is SO touching and beautiful!One can only hope to leave such a footprint on just one persons life. I hope she will be able to read this!


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