Around the time he reached 96, he found out that he had cancer.
It was a heart wrenching and physically exhausting battle for him to face after a couple of other setbacks.
We all began to call him the King of Bounce-back, though.
And despite his resilient, positive and upbeat attitude, it was devastating news.
Being a part of his life during this time, I learned so much from seeing how he faced this battle.
And as his ’telegram’ cheerleader, perhaps you’ll understand why, during this chapter in the incredible story of his life, I began to have a real worry that he might not get his letter from the Queen.
I began to fear that he wouldn’t reach his 100th birthday. 😢
I often find that in times of great challenge, it propels you to re-evaluate and seek out paths you may not have seen before.
It was after a period of quiet contemplation, and re-evaluating Uncle Len's goal in light of the changing situation, that an idea surfaced:
To write a letter to the Queen.
A bit of deliberation, and a few queries later, we got to work.
Uncle's cancer had prompted him to write a short memoir about his life in England in the 1920s, so we urged him to finish that, and gathered some photos to send along too, with the help of his daughter.
It took a while - you must know we deliberated over every word. How does one address the Queen in a letter anyway!? Having never written to her before, we had research to do.
But research we did, and finally, letter in hand - off I went to send it.
I was met by a postal clerk, who blinked at me with a somewhat shocked expression, mouth open, as if to speak...
"That’s right", I said. "Please send this letter to The Queen of England."
After some back and forth attempts to ascertain whether I was serious or not, he slowly started to write ’T…h…e… Q..u..e..e..n” out onto a postal slip, followed by the address on the letter:
Her Majesty the Queen
London SW1A 1AA
And just like that, expecting nothing, hoping for something, I said a little prayer, a ‘bismillah’, and off it went.✨🤲🏼✉️
In Part 3, I will share what happened next.
Meanwhile: what do you think happened? Do you think he received a reply from the Queen?
P.S. Preparing and sending this letter, no matter what the outcome, were actions that propelled Uncle Len closer to his 'telegram' goal and gave us something else to focus on. We also had fun anticipating what might happen next.