Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Dear Mom


I guess this is goodbye. I thought we still had a little time. Even though I said it was okay to go, I held onto a spark of hope that I could squeeze your hand one last time on earth. Oh, how I wish the flight had been a little earlier.

The past few months have been heart-achingly gut-wrenching. I'm so sorry I took you out of your house. I'm sorry you declined so rapidly. I'm sorry Tyler passed away and you couldn't attend his service.  I know you loved him dearly.

I kept thinking you could get better, if only this or that could happen. I called upon the powers of heaven to help you. But even with all the powers of heaven and earth, the inevitable cannot be forestalled. It was your time to return to your Father in Heaven.

Looking back, we see how truly inevitable it was. There were too many obstacles, and far too few miracles. In the moment, though, we held onto faith. In the very hour of your suffering, we pleaded for progress.

But my dear mom, miracles were present. The veil between heaven and earth was parted, and we received help, knowledge, and guidance as we held your hand on your journey to the next step.

We both know our relationship had its strains. We both know the anxieties of our souls kept us at odds more often than we bonded as mother and son. But I deeply admire the tenacity you showed time and again as you relentlessly cared for me.

I carry that with me, Mom. I have seven children under my care who need me, and I learned from you how to love and protect them. Sometimes, bewilderment overcomes me as I look in the mirror at my 45-year-old eyes and wonder how I was so blessed to have the life I do.

It was because of your choices. All of them. Good, bad, right, or wrong. You beat yourself up so often about the decisions you made. But now, free of the physical pains and limitations that beset you during this mortal life, perhaps you can see, holistically and impartially, how well you did. Perhaps your anxiety and depression can fade away, leaving only the strength that pushed you forward each time those illnesses overcame you.

I'll always remember our drive to Utah with Heather. I'll cherish taking you to McDonald's and feeding you French fries in the car, tearing open the ketchup packet and squeezing a tiny bit on each fry. I told you that's how Sadie did it, and it made you laugh. I loved your gratitude for each bite. It still makes me tear up.

There's so much more I could tell you, Mom, but for now, my last note pertains to my son.

You will never, ever understand how grateful I am for the care you showed Sumner from the day he was born. We were so young and had him early in life. We were still in school and navigating a new marriage, lacking the experience we needed.

Thank God you were there to help us. You helped raise him into the kind, intelligent 20-year-old he is today, a man who cherishes his family and looks out for others. I don't know how our lives would have turned out without you during that time.

I just want peace for you, Mom. I hope your dad was there at the end, helping you cross the bridge into the afterlife. I hope he was everything you remembered him to be. And I hope that when you saw your mom, you gave her the biggest hug. She loves you so much, just like you loved me. That's how I know. That's the funny thing about our family.

The good and the bad, they all add up. They all use the same language of love. Your whole life was a testament to love. You spoke it in the only way you knew how, and while I didn't always understand your words, I now see the love woven into your actions.

Now, at the end of all things, I understand you a little better. And because of that, life can be a little sweeter.

Until we see each other again, Mom. 

Sun, Moon, and Stars, all under the same great sky.