An open letter to my Mom
In just a few months from now you will have been gone from me for 20 years. It still doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. I can still remember you being here, your laugh, your smile, tickling me on the bed and saying I have a cute butterball butt. I don’t know why I remember that part but I always thought how in the world does my butt look like a turkey!? and then you would say in your sing-song voice “must be jelly cause jam don’t shake like that” it always made us laugh. Looking back now I realize I was only a little girl about the same age as my little girl is now. I can still picture you in the flower bed showing me how to pull the tops off of your marigolds and replant the seeds. Do you remember taking us to the zoo? You looked so in awe of every single animal we saw like it was the first time you had ever seen one. I do that with my kids now too.
I’ve told them all about you and I hate that they didn’t get to know you themselves. Throughout this adventure of motherhood I’ve thought many times “what would Mom do”. I always wanted to be like you, I never out grew that.
This year I am 32 years old. I never thought of myself being this old. I guess since you died when you were the same age I had nothing to envision past that. I have a much deeper understanding of what you were going through now that I’m at this place in my life. As a child I didn’t understand how young you were. I had an intense grasp on how badly losing you was hurting me as a 13 year old, but I couldn’t wrap my head around how much it must have ached knowing that you were leaving your 3 young children to live this life without you. When I think about my kids I can’t imagine having to tell them the things you had to tell us. Things like, don’t question God, he has a plan and if that means he takes me to heaven then it’s OK. Or, this new medicine might make me not know who you guys are sometimes.
I didn’t know how you could be so brave and why you didn’t feel like I did and just want you to stay here no matter what God wanted. Mom, I prayed and prayed and prayed. I cried and begged God to not take you away countless times. Thank you for not just telling us to trust God’s plan but showing us. It really did help when the day came to say goodbye to you, even though it didn’t make the pain any more bearable.
I went through my own adventure dealing with the possibility of breast cancer. When the Dr’s told me they had found 3 lumps in my breast and I would need a biopsy I was petrified. Watching you go through years of pain and suffering from it made the reality of it happening to me horrifying. God had different plans for me though. I didn’t have cancer but I did have a mastectomy like you did. Now I understand a little better how you felt when you heard those words from the Dr. and all the fears of surgery. But you were fighting intensely for your life and I wasn’t.
I remember the day you showed me your scar, I felt sad for you but I still thought you were so beautiful. You were just as beautiful as before your surgery, it didn’t change my view of you even a little. When your hair fell out I was sad for you because you always took time to do pretty things with your hair and now you couldn’t. You made it fun though, you wore hats and wraps and wigs. You might have complained to someone else but I cannot remember a single time that you were upset about it. You always looked at the positive, like wondering if it would grow back curly or a different color. You never told us it wasn’t fair or how you were too young to be dealing with all of that even though you had every right to feel that way.
You would not believe the amount of people that came to your funeral. There were so many cards, and so much food, and so many hugs and tears. Mom, people really loved you! You made this huge impact on so many people’s lives. I think mine the most though. I didn’t handle it very well. I heard how it would get easier but it never did. 20 years later I still cry when I think of how much I miss you. I can only say that my memories are more about the good times and how awesome you were instead of just crying because of your sickness. I tell myself I’m lucky I was able to have you for 13 years at least. Some people get much less.
You were my best friend, I didn’t realize that part then though. I’ve wished a million times that you were still here for me to talk to, learn from, get advice from or even babysit the grand kids. You would adore them! I know because you loved all kids and these 2 are pretty incredible. Logan looks just like me, which means she looks like you too. I wish I could tell you as an adult how much you mean to me. I wish I could have coffee with you and talk about life. I wish I could hug you, just one more time.
I turned my back on God for a long time you know. He never turned his back on me though, I only thought he did. He sent a woman into my life that he used to bring me back to him. He has changed my life. Everything I thought I wanted was wrong, His plans are better than my plans.
I’m getting married soon and once again I’m facing this big life change without you. I can’t share the joy and stress of wedding planning with you. I can’t gush to you about all the wonderful things he is to me. I know you would love him though. He is a good man, he is a Godly man, he loves the kids and he really loves me. He likes making me happy and he tries really hard to take care of me even though I’m pretty stubborn. I keep wanting you here to be part of our wedding. I know you would be helping me decorate and giving me advice and shopping with me. Trudi is making my Wedding Cake, she has your talent for that. You would be so proud of her.
It’s strange, I see girls who don’t appreciate their Moms and it makes me angry that they take something so precious for granted. I think how badly I want you to be here involved in my life and they have what I wish for and can’t see how lucky they are. Heck, I’d even love to have you call and fuss at me! I guess our experiences make us feel these ways though. Perhaps if I hadn’t lost you I might not have understood your value either. I hope that my kids will know how precious it is that we have each other for however long I’m left on this earth.
Your birthday is next week and you would have been 52 but I know that instead you are in heaven enjoying your perfect body with no pain. I miss you terribly but I know soon enough I’ll be with you again, hugging your neck and laughing. Until then I want to live like you did, being a good Mom and looking at all the good this life still holds. I love you Mom.