In honor of my beloved Mama this Mother’s Day, I am re-posting this letter I wrote to her last October — 7,670 days after her death.
Oh, how I miss you. It’s been 21 years today since we said goodbye. Exactly 7,670 days. A small part of me feels like that tragic day was a hundred years ago and happened to someone else entirely, and another small part of me feels like that tragic day was not long ago at all, and I am still a grief-struck teenager wondering how I’ll ever carry on without you to guide me.
I remember a bedtime story you used to tell about a lost traveler. Actually, I don’t remember any details about the main character. Maybe it was a donkey? But I remember the moral of the story was to always know who you are and where you are going.
Becoming a motherless daughter as a teen made me question who I was and wonder where I was going. God, in His faithfulness, drew me in close to Him and taught me that life’s really more about knowing Who you belong to and where you are going. I am so thankful that I belong to Him and am on my way to heaven. What peace, joy and hope I have in knowing this truth.
Yet the grief of mother-loss still comes in waves. Usually they are small, gentle waves, but even now sometimes the waves of grief can be surprisingly overwhelming. I long ago realized the grief won’t end this side of heaven. But by the grace of God, I am carrying on. Or actually, He is carrying me as I trust in Him to guide my steps.
Being the mother of two little girls requires lots of guidance and wisdom, and so often I hear the lie that being a motherless daughter somehow makes me unqualified to be a mother. My new verse for fighting that lie is 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
I already have all I need to do this job! And being a wife and mothering these girls is a lot of work. It’s good work, but work indeed. I cannot imagine anyone else I’d rather spend my days with.
And I am thankful that you met and loved Michael, even if you didn’t know back then that he would become my husband. He still re-tells the blonde jokes and OSU jokes you told him, and he laughingly recounts the time you told him sailboats only move by continental drift. He’s a wonderful husband and a great daddy.
One of my deepest longings is for you to come to our house and meet our sweet little girls. These two lovely granddaughters of yours, each is her own dear and special person.
But oh, how they both remind me so very much of you with their piano-playing, book-consuming, chocolate-loving passions.
The oldest daughter is almost 11. I remember you always said that was the perfect age, and now I understand why. She’s so helpful and sweet. She has your big, dancing-blue eyes, beautiful, mile-long smile and slender little legs. She looks so much like the pictures we have of you as a little girl, and she fills our house with the snip-snip of scissors and the low steady hum of the sewing machine. I remember those sounds filling up your bedroom when you were sewing me a new dress or teaching me how to make a pillow. How I wish you could spend a day sewing doll clothes with this daughter. For the longest time it was too painful for me to sew with her because that was something you and I did together and I just didn’t feel confident without you. But this girl, she is a fearless seamstress with such nimble little fingers. Just a few weeks ago, she encouraged me to help her make her little sister a doll for her birthday.
What fun we had picking fabric, stitching things together and being sneaky about the entire project so her sister wouldn’t find out.
The youngest daughter just turned 8 and she has your big, dancing-blue eyes, too. Her hair is the same beautiful caramel-strawberry blonde as yours, and you’d be delighted to know that hers is naturally curly, as you always so desperately wished yours was. Like you, this girl is quick with numbers – and she especially likes double-checking her math worksheets on her new adding machine. Give her a little more time with that thing, and I can just imagine the rolls of adding machine paper cascading like a waterfall across our schoolroom table, just like the rolls of paper flooded the floor of your office on busy days. This daughter’s sense of humor reminds me of yours; she loves telling jokes and has a quick wit that catches me and her daddy off guard sometimes. At church the other day, when our pastor was talking about us becoming more like Jesus spiritually but not physically, she grinned and quipped, “That means we don’t have to grow beards.”
I guess that’s the sum of what all these 21 years of motherless days adds up to – your own little girl growing up to be a wife and mother and, by the grace of God, becoming confident that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I love you, Mama, and I can’t wait to see you on that glorious day.
Hugs and kisses,