>Famous last words

>How do we end a letter? Or an email? How much thought goes into the words we will use? I know I spent quite some time coming to the decision that “best wishes” was the most appropriate for me. Some who write to me finish with “Yours in Christ” – that’s nice, but a bit cheesily religious. I’m not saying “best wishes” is good – it’s a cliche and I couldn’t possibly mean every word of that greeting for every person I write to because I would be emotionally exhausted by all that wishing.

I’ve served in two churches dedicated to St Andrew’s – one in Ellesmere Port (now demolished) and the other in Tarvin. Many of us finish our letters with the cross of St Andrew – we think of them as kisses. The same sign was used to seal agreements signifying that the bond would not be broken (as St Andrew’s discipleship led him to his cross). I suppose that the traditional endings of “yours faithfully” and “yours truly” can perhaps be traced back as translations of thast “kiss” and “cross”.

My mother – now quite frail – was talking about a letter from someone she seems to be regarded as a “surprising” friend. She reflected that she is at the stage of her life when people are telling her important things about what she has meant to them – sort of summaries. “I love you” wrote the surprising friend.

This is the bottom line. The last line. There needs to be space at the end of our correspondence for “what do I mean”, “what you have meant to me” – it’s a line to be timed as the truly heartfelt greeting between two people who, when all is said and done, mean the world to one another. “Best wishes” will do for all other correspondence.

St. Andrew’s Cross spider photgraphed in coastal NSW, Australia author – self, TTaylor date- 2005

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