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.
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….
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 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.