It was autumn when I got this letter from Emily, who I didn’t yet know but had somehow come across my songs. I was watching my dreams fall like the leaves on the limbs outside my window, barely hanging on before quietly drifting to the ground. And it wasn’t only my dreams. My best friend, a labrador named Kona, had recently succumbed to bone cancer with her head on my lap in my living room, and I was taking a hard look at my life as a result. Her death closed a chapter of my life, one of chasing dreams and retreating into solitude when things didn’t work out. I didn’t know what the next chapter looked like, but I did know that the leaves were doing a better job of letting go than I was.
Emily’s words about her own loss, love, and gratitude resonated deeply with me, almost as if she knew what I was going through and had sent the letter on purpose. She had lost her soulmate one autumn, which was also their favorite time of year, and every year around that time she sent him a letter. She included that letter with her own note to me and I showed both to my friend Sean Watkins. We wrote a song about it called ‘For the Sender,’ which launched this project and touched on how sometimes a letter is like a prayer, in that it’s often more for the sender than the receiver. And how maybe, hopefully, that can be enough.
Proceeds generated by the songs from each letter go to a cause of the sender’s choice. Emily has requested her share of the proceeds go to StandUp for Kids in Oceanside, in honor of Kim’s story. To learn more, please visit http://www.standupforkids.org