Dear Mom,

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Hey, Momma.

It’s been a while since you left us. This year will mark 13 years…so hard to believe. That’s over a quarter of my life without you.

Mother’s Day is tomorrow, and I’m getting inundated with ads about what to do for you, gifts to buy you, reminders to call you and tell you how much you mean to me. Well, those things aren’t options for me, so this will have to do.

A lot has happened since the cancer stole you from us. You have nine more grandchildren than before. NINE. Can you believe it? Oh, they’re so precious, Mom. I miss you so much for selfish reasons, but man, I wish they knew you. Their lives would be infinitely richer and full of even more love, if you were here to watch them grow. I miss you for them, as much as for myself.

I think we all are turning out okay. Each of us has different parts of your personality, but I think Rose is the most like you…just more outspoken. Meredith has your sense of humor. Holly has your determination. I have your coffee addiction. I’m even an early riser, now. Go figure.

Many people put those who’ve passed away on a pedestal. Its only natural. I did it for a while, too…But over the years, I’ve had to be honest with myself about who you were – and who you were not. Let’s face it, Mom. You didn’t always stand up for yourself or speak your mind in situations that really called for it. I feel like that was something you should’ve done. There were times when it would’ve made a huge difference if you hadn’t stayed silent. I resented that for a while…

The silver lining in that revelation is that I learned to do it because you didn’t. It was a lesson I needed to learn, and I know now that not all of your lessons were through your actions. Some of them were through your inactions. Thank you for that. Truly.

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Learning to walk…Allowing me to fall.

 

I have to confess that on the day we buried you, the girls and I went through your dresser drawers. The ones we weren’t allowed to open, ever. Hey, you knew we would. Listen, we were so broken and so tired and so heavy with sadness, that we had to lighten the mood we were drowning in. So, we were all sitting on your bed and simultaneously decided it was time to see what you’d been hiding.

I could almost hear you in that moment…”JESSICA LYNN! YOU CLOSE THAT DRAWER RIGHT NOW. THOSE ARE MINE. MINE. MINE. I DON’T GET ANYTHING PRIVATE AROUND HERE, AND YOU STAY OUT OF MY DRESSER. ITS THE ONE THING I HAVE ALL TO MYSELF!”

Sorry, Mom.

We found the booze.

And then we all laughed so hard that we couldn’t breathe…

Then Dad was standing in the doorway, doing his silent Dad-laugh, shaking his head at us.

So, I guess I’m not really sorry.

We needed that.

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Never in tune, but owning it like a boss.

 

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that we never stopped getting to know you.¬†From the day we laid you to rest and found out you liked cinnamon schnapps, to this very moment. We find you in each other, and in your grandchildren. I see you in their eyes and smiles. Their funny anecdotes, their silliness, and so many other little quirks that I just know would’ve had you on the floor with laughter.

I’m still realizing how much you taught me and my siblings, because I’m seeing it retaught by them to their children. I see it in my friends. I wish I could describe the impact you had on them, and you didn’t even know it. It surprises me…and yet it doesn’t.

There is a cardinal that perches on a tree outside my new place. There’s been one in every place I have lived since you went away. The girls have noticed them, too. Just a single one. It may be just a coincidence, but I prefer to believe it isn’t. Every time I see it, I say “Hi, Mom”. I wonder if you can hear me…

Let’s see, what else? I guess maybe you know I never got married or had any kids. Turns out that wasn’t in the cards for me. I guess I’m fine with that, most of the time. I can’t imagine having kids without you being around anyway. And as it happens, I don’t have much patience for the day-to-day stuff with little ones. I don’t know how you did it. Rose does, though…haha!

I guess this is the sappy part, now. Are you ready?

Although every moment of my day isn’t any longer wrought with sadness about your being gone, I still miss you every day. That’s why Mother’s Day just pretty much stinks. My siblings have kids, so at least they can celebrate being moms through the¬†missing you. I don’t have that, so I usually just shun the whole thing and pretend it doesn’t exist, because it hurts too much for words sometimes.

Its hard for me to understand anyone who doesn’t get along with or speak to their mom. Then again, I don’t know anyone who has a mom quite like you. You were a mother to so many more than your own children. You set examples for people that you didn’t even realize were watching.

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Last photo.

 

I’d give anything to talk to you. To hear your voice…your laugh… your sighs, and even your off-key singing. I’d give my right arm for a morning coffee at 6 am with you. And I’d give my life up in trade if it meant you could be here with those grandbabies of yours.

This will turn into a novel if I don’t stop, so I’ll leave you with this:

I love you. I appreciate you every day of my life. I miss you. I wish you were here.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Love, Jessica

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