Mom’s letter

March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

So I went through the last box of my mom’s things.

You may recall that I had two boxes sent to me by my brother.  Things from my mother’s house.

And I waited 2 weeks to go through the last box.

Because I wanted to believe that the letter was in there.

You see ever since everything happened with my mother I was convinced that she left me a letter.

I remember when my brother called me and told me my mom was on life support.

I couldn’t believe it.

And then when she died I didn’t know how to cope.

I don’t know why or how I got this idea in my head but I told him there had to be a letter.

I was convinced of it.

I said Mom wouldn’t leave us like this.  Without leaving a letter to tell us how to handle it.

I know it’s not reasonable.  But I can’t help it.

This thought has permeated my thoughts day and night for over a year.

I wanted to get in my Kia Sedona and drive the 1600 miles to find this letter but I was over 400 pounds and the single mom of 4 children.  I just couldn’t make the trip.

I begged him to scour the house.

“Have you found it yet??”  I asked.

He told me repeatedly there was no letter.

But I know my mom.  Trust me.  She was always prepared. Organized.

And she would not have left me without a letter to explain what to do next.

How to handle it.

Saying this out loud makes it seem even more irrational.

So I stopped asking about the letter.

Instead I started dreaming about it

Just the other night I had a dream again about the letter

“You know what I dreamed about last night?” I told Savannah, my oldest daughter

“That you and Dad were still married?”

“No not that one”, I said

“Oh the one about the letter??” she said


It’s a recurring dream now.

I’m at Mom’s house and I find the letter.  It tells me everything I need to know.

How to cope with my life now that she’s gone.

This time in my dream I found a letter that said “Questions” as the title.

Evidently I had typed up all the questions I ever wanted to ask my mom and she had replied to them with her answers.

My mom always had the answers to everything.  She always knew just what to say.

If only I had listened half the time.

It’s ironic. I was always telling my mom “Let me live my own life! Let me make my own mistakes!”

And now here I am begging my brother to hire a team of people to find a letter my mom may have written telling me the answers to all of life.

I want nothing more than to have her tell me what to do.

Boss me around.

And now there is nothing but the deafening silence

The phone that she won’t answer

The mailbox that remains empty

Where is my letter???????????????

She would NOT leave me like this without some kind of warning.  Some kind of preparation.

But I got to the bottom of the last box and no letter.

Why, God?? WHY???

You know how I have obsessed over this letter.

How I dream constantly about its existence.

And nothing.

But then I found this.

It’s a letter my mom wrote her biological father when I was 23.

I guess she had held on to that letter for a long time.

You see my mom was abandoned by both her mother and father as a child.

She was raised by her grandmother who did not want her.

And made sure to tell her that on a daily basis.

All she ever wanted was someone who loved her.  Truly.  Someone who would not abandon her.

But my mom never gave up on anyone.


And so she wrote to her biological father as an adult to tell him about her life.

And apparently she kept a copy of the letter that she had sent him.

There it was in her belongings that were sent to me.

And in it she told him of how she had raised me alone.  As a single Mom.

Just like I am now.

And how it was tough.


These were the words written by my mother.

And it’s all true. She did raise me alone from the time I was 13. And those were trying times.

I was 33 when my husband left and she was right there with me the whole time.

She never stopped helping me through the hard times.

And ever since that day my brother called to deliver the horrible news that Mom had suddenly had a massive brain hemmorhage and was on life support…

And ever since he called me back to say she was gone….

I have been looking for and dreaming about this letter.

This letter I was sure she had left me.

Because I know my Mom and she would never leave without saying goodbye.

But my letter was not in the house.

Or the bottom of the last box.

But this letter I found in that box had the words I needed to hear….

“Just because something is hard and not the ideal doesn’t mean we quit.”

That’s what she wrote.

And she’s right.

Life is hard.

Losing weight is hard.

Losing your Mom is hard.

Being a single parent is hard.

And it’s not THE IDEAL situation you may have planned out for yourself.

But just because something is hard and not ideal doesn’t mean we quit.

My mom wasn’t a quitter.

Her favorite song was “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy

I can’t tell you how many times my mom would rattle off the line

“I am woman hear me roar!!” whenever I said “I can’t handle this….”

When my husband left and I said I can’t do this…she said

 “Repeat after me….I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR”

And in this letter she wrote…

So I survived the hard years of the last decade and it made me a stronger person

And I take this to be her message to me.

That just because my life hasn’t been the ideal picture I had for myself….

Just because I didn’t envision myself being  a divorced single mom of 4 kids and having my mother die suddenly when I was 39

Just because losing 300 pounds is hard..

That doesn’t mean I get to quit.

No–Instead I will survive.

I will get through the next decade.

And I will be a stronger person because of it.

I didn’t get the letter I’ve been dreaming about.

But I got her words on a page.

Her thoughts. Her feelings. Her prescence.

She’s here.

She’s telling me to never give up.

To never quit.

Yes–I know this is her. Her words. Her spirit.

That’s my mom alright.

Giving me just what I need when I need it.

And now I can rest easy.

  I have my letter now.

Good night.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Czesia March 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Holly you have made me cry. Your insights and true introspective learning is making you such an incredible strong minded individual. This kind of thing will make sure that you take off the pounds and keep them off. I am so proud of you and your accomplishments, I KNOW your mother is looking down at you and placing grace around your shoulders to comfort you. My mom had a stroke in November it's very scary to think about what could happen to her, so I'm with you every step of the way…just like our moms are with us too.


Steelers6 March 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I was so close to my Mom & lost her when I was young too. (31 yrs old, she was only 55.) I'm so sorry for your huge loss of someone so dear, and so suddenly.

I like how you processed thoughts of a letter from her here, and treasure the words from the one you did find. Perhaps you saved some old correspondence from her to you since you were so far apart? I know a letter from her with her deep thoughts, caring, & love is probably totally written on your heart/carried in your heart.



~TMcGee~ March 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I am so glad you have a mom like her, Holly. She may not be present physically in this world anymore but her teachings, her strong woman spirit, her tenacity all live on through you. YOU are her letter, my friend. 🙂 *hugs*


Mama Kat March 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm

This is SUCH a great post!! My Mom plays a very similar role in my life. In fact, I'm constantly saying to her "who would I call for help with this if you weren't here?" I'm terrified of losing her. It just can't happen. Which is why I so relate to your panic should the day ever come. I'm so glad you found those words. They're all you need!!


Frickin' Fabulous at 40 March 27, 2012 at 3:07 am

I knew there would be a treasure inside that box for you! How sad to hear the story of your mom's beginning in this world, but that's what made her the perfect mom for you. She knew what rejection felt like on the grandest scale and she would never, ever want you to feel that way. And then your husband left you. One of the most profound lines in that song (I JUST watched 'Sex and the City 2' again yesterday and the girls do it at karaoke!) is "Oh, yes I am wise, but it's wisdom born of pain." Wouldn't we all love to be ignorant then?


Joanna March 27, 2012 at 3:50 am

I love how you were able to find something with the words you needed to hear. I couldn't imagine going through what you've been through – but it seems that there is always a way for you to turn the negative around…and I totally love that about you.

It's funny, during my most trying of times losing weight I would wear my Bondi Band that I had specially printed with the words: I am Woman, Hear me Roar! I wore it during the bootcamp I never thought I'd get through. I wore it during the training I did for my first 5K. I wear it now, often, when I am doubting my ability to get my head back in the game. They are very strong words. You're mother was right. 🙂


mommykinz March 27, 2012 at 4:17 am

Yeah! So glad you found something that comforted you. I'm hoping someday my journals do that for my children – even though some days I'm ranting about parenting (hmm better put some positive spins in there soon).
Proud of you that you went through the boxes. Your mom sounds like she was a formidable woman.


Ronnie March 27, 2012 at 6:14 am

That IS your letter, I'm convinced of it. 🙂



MandaPanda March 27, 2012 at 7:05 am

Although it's not the letter you have been dreaming about, I'm glad your mother was able to offer you one last bit of comfort through her words to her father. And she's right. You can't quit. You can get through anything and do anything you put your mind to.


Joy March 27, 2012 at 7:30 am

Amazing!! Wow your Mom was a powerful woman!! So are you!!! Glad you found your letter!!

Keep focused!


Kelly March 27, 2012 at 7:48 am

Oh my goodness – the colossal strength you have is just amazing. And once again, you have managed to make me cry.


If Only She Were Thinner March 27, 2012 at 7:55 am


– Dawn


Carrie - March 27, 2012 at 8:02 am

Those words are precisely what I needed to be reminded of. I'm sorry if I'm sounding selfish…I don't mean to. But I've had a little something going on and those words are my answer.

"Just because something is hard and not the ideal doesn't mean we quit."

Brilliant. Thank you.


Brenda March 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

You are strong. You are a survivor.


Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell March 27, 2012 at 8:15 am

Having lost my dad in a tragic way a couple of years ago, I totally relate to what you're saying here. I was also divorced about a year ago and I'm still not over that. But I'm taking control of things again, and I won't give up either! You won't and I won't!


Amy @ Findingfitme March 27, 2012 at 8:21 am

I love your writing style.
I am having a hard time reading them. But they do serve as a reminder to "be" with my mom however I can. I am approaching my 39th birthday (May) and my mom's 65th (2 days apart). I am pretty sure this will be our last year to celebrate our birthdays.


bbubblyb March 27, 2012 at 8:44 am

Glad you found your letter even if it wasn't what you thought it would be.


Darlin1 March 27, 2012 at 9:28 am

I am so proud of you! I feel you DID find your letter!!



JRD March 27, 2012 at 10:52 am

Holly, you are truly inspiring and amazing. I am so, so, so glad you found this letter, I am beyond happy for you that you have found a bit of peace in the chaos that this loss of your mother is, and you inspire me. I'm so glad I found you on these here interwebs, and I hope one day I can give you a hug!! Is that weird? I'm a hugger…so here are some virtual hugs! [[[[[[[[[Holly]]]]]]]]]]


Sandy March 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Oh wow. Each day I read your posts and am truly moved. She's there with you. Sharing her letters in your dreams because deep inside we have part of them still there waiting to help us through the tough times. And besides who writes letters anymore–it's all about the technology and cyberspace!

I'm glad you had a good life with your mom because your 4 kids too will have a good life with you because of her. And if you want, I can nag you about something. I'm good at that. I might not "roar" as loud anymore but after lots of soul searching these last few years I have embraced the title of the song "The Bitch is back"!

Embrace those around you for they are your strength, be they alive or be they dead. {{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}


terbear287 March 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I am glad you made it through the boxes and remain so positive. You are an amazing women, your kids are lucky to have you! Stay strong mama!


Sheila March 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm

You got your letter and it has exactly what you need to know to survive anything. Look how far you have come Holly (and even though I didn't comment on it specifically, I finally caught up on your video blogs and OMG I see a tremendous difference …your head has not caught up to your body yet…it takes time!) There was a reason your mom wrote this letter AND kept a copy and that reason is you. I am really happy that you have your letter. God works in mysterious ways, yes?


greenie March 27, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Wow. So poignant. I hear you roaring, babe. You're doing sooo great. my favorite song right now is Kelly clarkson's "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.". That's my motto right now. Even though my life is in chaos, I feel stronger every day (it helps that the pounds are melting off of me 😉 ).


Andrea March 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Love the last piece of advice your mom left you with!


Elaine- March 28, 2012 at 3:06 am

i lost my mom a few years ago, we had always had a bad relationship, but in the end, i wrote HER a letter, and by the grace and love of Jesus our relationship was healed, even tho her cancer wasn't… i got to say goodbye, i got to love my mom, and have my mom love me… in the end, i guess you got the healing and love you needed too, and i'm glad for you hon…


Kerry :) March 28, 2012 at 7:34 am

Completely stunned by the raw emotion you share… Thank you!


Teresa March 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

What a powerful story. Thank you for sharing!


Chandra March 30, 2012 at 4:55 am

God answered your plea for words from her. I love it.

Holly, I love you and I love your mom.

I'm not some psycho 🙂 I just do.

Your mom was amazing, I can tell. And she raised one heck of a daughter too. Your words inspire and uplift, without fail.

I wish we lived in the same town so we could go out for coffee.
Instead, I'll read your blog as I have my second cup, as I often do.


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