As far back as I can remember, my mom would leave little notes. No matter the subject. She’d always sign them “love and”…something. Love and lots of fun, love and where’s your report card, love and hot dogs for dinner. The second part of her closing was always unique and specific. Love always came first.
My mother would have been 76 this coming Saturday. I wrote this when she passed away in July, 1999:
It will not be easy to put into words how much we loved and will miss you
The only way I can come close is with our thanks.
Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for your strength.
Thank you for showing us how to love generously. You loved your family with all you had and still had love left over for others. You loved your children – all your children, whether they were of your blood or not. You would always take in a stray. You cared for everyone, but kids and dogs first of all. You cared about people you never met. People you’d only heard about from one of us. My mom was more generous with her love than anyone I’ve ever met.
Thank you for your depth of character. It would be too simplistic to look at your life as one of struggle. The people who knew you knew you were about far more than your medical history, amazing as it was. You were tough. You were honest. You never judged. You never complained.
Thank you for your determination. By example, you taught us about doing the job at hand. You always did what was necessary to get a task completed. Always made sure we had what we needed and a little more.
Thank you for knowing how to tell people what they should do without actually having to tell them what to do. Thank you for always using your superpowers for good, not evil.
Thank you for making my home the place everyone wanted to be.
Thank you for your sense of touch. For knowing exactly when and how to put your arm around someone’s back, kiss their brow, or tap their fingers.
Thank you for your love of music and your long, hearty laugh.
Thank you for your love of the word – both written and verbal. In matters of the heart, you always seemed to have the answers within you. For answers to other questions, you always knew which books to go to. You loved the simple parables of O. Henry. I think because those stories were so much like you – straight forward, yet consistently surprising, always infused with humor and a strong morality.
Thank you for teaching us how to be polite. How to say yes sir, no ma’am, please, and thank you.
Thank you for the honor of being able to think of you every time we play Scrabble, catch those Duke boys on TV, find a supermarket bargain, spot a yard sale, an interesting piece of glassware, or a cheap paperback romance. Thank you.
When I started writing, I thought this would be difficult. It wasn’t. It was about you.
Let us cross in the river and rest in the shade.
Love and never ending thanks,