A Letter To My Mother on the Tenth Anniversary of her Death

Dear Mama,

It’s been a long time since I wrote you a letter or even felt compelled to write one. That doesn’t mean I don’t still miss you and think of you… just that the pain has dulled and the place you left empty in my life has been filled by other people and things. So that desperate need to connect with you isn’t quite as urgent as it was a few years back.

The daffodils didn’t bloom in time for the anniversary again this year. We moved into this house a few months after your death and every anniversary, I was comforted by the bright  yellow blooms. Until last year when they didn’t come. While it was a disappointment last year, this year it feels more like a sign. A sign that I am okay and that I don’t need them as much. I know you are with me, in my heart, in the faces of your beautiful grandchildren, and I don’t need yellow blossoming flowers to remind me of that. Though a yellow blossom in springtime will always bring to mind thoughts of you.

This week I was on business-related conference call with Allison, you remember my old pen pal? I know it would bring you such joy to realize that she and I keep in touch and that our children are exchanging letters these days as well. Anyway, the other woman on the conference call asked me what things I would change about my life if I could change anything. I was stumped. I honestly could not think of anything I sincerely wanted to change about my life. A bigger house would be nice right now in this space of my life simply because we homeschool and we have three children who are outgrowing the small rooms this home provides. But it’s really not something urgent… I can totally get by with the space we have and besides, in the past ten years, this place has become my home. Giving it up would be hard to do. The lady who asked the question said she didn’t usually hear answers like mine… most people have a long list of things they would like to change. Of course, I’ve never been most people.

I do things and have done things that would not make you proud. I also do things that would. I have committed to homeschooling your three grandchildren, who are shaping up to be quite likable people. And I am good at the homeschool thing. I drive my children to activities. I am heavily involved with the theater right alongside the kids, which is a dream come true. I listen to my old records. I make art. I journal. I write. I wear whatever I want. I still love passionately. I’m surrounded by beautiful souls who love me in ways of which I don’t feel worthy. I’m still in my marriage and loving the man with whom I was blessed beyond measure. I take care of my health. I listen to the birds and I feel the wind on my face. I still follow Kate Pierson closely and I still love television.

My life is good and I don’t think you’d have any trouble recognizing me. I never change that much. Most importantly, I think it would comfort you to know that I am satisfied in my life. Your daughter is healthy, happy, loved, and surrounded by the things and the people who bring her joy. Really, what more would a mother want?

And so, as we mark a very significant anniversary since your passing, I can honestly say that I have created a life for myself that is filled with joy and I am content. So many of these anniversaries have found me floundering, desperate for one reason or another. But not this year. Perhaps it is because I spent so much of last year broken and I have learned to embrace what good is in my life. Pain certainly brings about a new appreciation for the pleasures found in day to day living. Or perhaps it’s simply because I have stepped out on faith and deliberately put into my world the things which bring out my strengths and forwent those which highlight my weaknesses. Regardless of the reasons, today, on this tenth anniversary of your passing, I am living the life I always hoped I would live. And I think you would be pleased with me.