“Life is really hard. The people that we love may not understand how much we love them or what is unique and special about themselves. (Telling them) is one of the most loving things we can do. It helps encourage people to reach their God-given potential,” Noland said.
Fifteen years ago, Noland formed the idea for her workbook after visiting her friend, Larry, the night before surgery for a brain tumor at Emory University Hospital.
“I noticed him insistently asking his wife if she had brought his stationary,” said Noland, a Marietta resident of east Cobb since 1984. She has one grown daughter.
Larry’s wife told Noland that he wanted to write a letter to each of his three children in case he did not survive the surgery. “It just really touched me,” Noland said.
Larry lived for nine months following the surgery. Another two of Noland’s friends also died suddenly within a month of his death.
“I saw three families at one time grieving the death of a loved one,” she said.
“I saw the impact that (Larry’s) letters had on his children and how much it meant to them to have something in writing from their dad. That planted the seed in my mind of how important it was to tell the people that we love in writing what they mean to us and why we think they’re special,” she said.
Over a course of several years Noland thought about the letters. “People would agree that they loved that idea of writing a letter but had no idea where to begin,’” Noland said.
“I kept thinking that it’s not really that hard, and if I could make it a simple step-by-step approach to take away the fear factor then maybe I could help people express their hearts to their loved ones,” she said.
Initially Noland suggested that people put the letters with their wills.
“Somebody challenged me on that and said, ‘Why would you wait to give something like this to someone after you died.’ I thought she was really right,” Jody said.
“The power of encouragement is huge to all of us. My focus changed to being purposeful about telling the people that matter most to you why you love them and what you think is so special about them. We may see character qualities in them that they can’t see. To me it’s like pouring words of life into the people we love,” she said.
‘“We all feel as though we have all the time in the world. None of us knows how many days we have. Don’t let being a perfectionist keep you from doing this. Having something in writing is invaluable. It can be life changing,” Noland said.
Learn the simple but powerful process of writing letters by attending Noland’s workshop on Sept. 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Greenwood Gardens at 1160 Whitlock Ave., Marietta. The cost, including workbook, is $30. Enroll for the workshop, purchase Noland’s workbook or contact her at www.leavenothingunsaid.com.