Absence Excuse Note oil on linen Diptych (20 x 24 in., 20 x 48 in.) $4,000. We children handwrote our own absence excuse notes. Mine always said "Joan was absent from school because she was not feeling well." I would stand at my mother's bedside pleading to add the specific ailment like flu, cold, or stomachache. She always refused. I would write the note as she wished and had her sign it before she nodded off, a lit cigarette between her fingers.