Dear Mom, Having a wonderful time, wish you were here

Dear Mom,

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone, and I still can’t believe I couldn’t hug and kiss you, give you a mushy card, and a box of Godiva’s.

You know the tradition in the church on Mother’s Day, when they pass out pink carnations to women who still have a living mother, and white to those whose mothers have died? I remember the year you were no longer eligible for a pink flower. I was heartbroken, and pushed aside thoughts that I was next in line to qualify for this rite of passage.

Greeting card with the inscription "Happy Mothers Day" with pink carnations on a bright blue background with white polka dots

I’m sticking with pink carnations, Mom, because you still live in my heart. (Photo credit: depositphotos: Copyright: iprachenko)

I was in my 40’s when I realized there was something confusing about your childbearing years. You had two girls, Noreen and Linda, and then a boy, Marvin. Six years later, I was born. I inquired, “Mom, was I an accident?” You replied with a little too much haste, “No! Well, I mean, not really. We were happy about you once we got used to the idea.” I never suspected that I was an unplanned pregnancy, a tribute to the way you loved me completely.

Mom and me 1

I love this photo of us.

I admit there is relief in knowing ‘the end of your story.’ I was worried about you as you aged. Questions lurked, “How would you die? Would you suffer? Would you lose your mental faculties?”

Consistent with your loving and open nature, you shared your end of life experience with us. We kept you comfortable at home, with the assistance of hospice. On 9/7/07 at 7:00 a.m. with 7 of us at your side, you passed from this life to the next, offering us one last radiant smile. You were 87 years old and you and Dad had celebrated your 70th wedding anniversary earlier that year. It is no coincidence that seven is a number that represents completion.

One of the many things you taught us was to laugh at ourselves, even during tense situations.

True to this teaching, you always laughed at the retelling of your famous cranberry story. The setting was a marathon shopping jaunt with daughters Linda and Noreen, and granddaughter Bridget. When it was lunch time, you stopped at a local diner. Service was slow and you were ravenous. You started to complain with increasing volume and urgency.

When the server offered a dry saltine cracker, you jumped to your feet, and announced you were leaving. Linda grabbed your shirttail and pulled you back in your seat. Bridget innocently offered you some dried cranberries she carried for emergencies, to which you bellowed, “Cranberries! Who wants cranberries? I’d eat chocolate covered raisins, but cranberries?”

From that time on, when the ladies planned an expedition, there was a checklist comparable to preparing a plane for takeoff. And there was no announcement of ‘all clear’ until confirming that someone had packed chocolate covered raisins.

One of the ways I worked through my grief after you died, was to write letters to you using my dominant right hand. Then I would write your replies, using my left hand. In one of my letters I asked you how you adjusted after you lost your own mother, and this was your reply.

Dearest Molly,

I don’t know how I did it when my Mom died. Of course I was sad, but I kept living. She always lived in my heart, as I will yours. Go ahead, not backward. Live and laugh. I am always with you, more than when I lived on earth. I love you, my baby girl.

Mom
xoxo

It took time before I could go ahead, not backward. But I am happy to say I took your advice, and I am living and laughing.

And I don’t leave home without chocolate covered raisins.

Love, Molly

Dear Mom

PIN FOR LATER

*Note: I’ve found great comfort from the book “On Grief and Grieving” the final book written by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross with David Kessler. This is where I got the idea to write letters using right and left hand. I don’t have any affiliation if you click on the link and purchase. If you are grieving, I highly recommend it.

©2016, Stevens. All rights reserved.

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29 thoughts on “Dear Mom, Having a wonderful time, wish you were here

  1. This brought a tear to my eye, especially since my mother is 97 and edging ever so closer to that time. The church I used to attend also did the pink and white carnations for Mother’s Day.

  2. My mum was 19 when she had me so she is only in her 70’s and I’m hoping she will be around for a long time to come because it will be so hard when she goes. I’m so sorry you don’t still have your mum too Molly x

  3. Your relationship with your Mom sounds lovely. It is the kind I wished I had experienced with my Mother. I am sure she knew how much you adored her, and loved you tons!
    PS all those 7s mean all good things for her <3

  4. I too love that book. Your mother sounds wonderful. I have never experienced the white and pink carnation practice. Does it offer comfort? I think the transition from pink to white must be difficult…

    • I don’t think the carnation thing is comforting at all Anna. I used to take a pink one but the white one was always looming. So now I refuse to participate at all – too painful. Glad you have read the book though. I have gone back to it every time I experience a loss.

  5. I think this is so beautiful. Your mom seemed so special. Cherish your memories always. She left you amazing advice and I think she sounds wonderful.

  6. Wow, Molly, so beautiful. Those pink and white carnations were so poignant. I can’t imagine losing my mother. I know yours would be very proud and touched by your words.

    • Thank you Laurie. Losing my mom was the worst day ever. She was so special and we were very close. I miss her every day, but it was therapeutic to share my loss and give my readers a small glimpse of who she was.

  7. This is so wonderful and heartfelt, Molly. It was my first Mother’s Day this year without Mom. It felt very strange not to go to her house with a card and a box of chocolates. She will always be missed.

  8. Beautiful and poignant, Molly. I love the letter writing activity and will take a look at the book mentioned. Although I’ve not lost my mom from the physical world, I have lost many bits and lots of pieces of her. I miss that mom, and feel your loss.

    • Thank you, Becky. It must be hard to lose your Mom little by little, and I could see that my Mom was heading in that direction before a fatal cancer came upon the scene. Missing a Mom who still lives is yet another grief and I hope the book and letter writing will help you with that. So wonderful to see your comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by.

  9. Oh, Molly, how I had a good cry. I remember how I didn’t think I would ever get over losing Grammie Dickinson. It took remembering all the good times. Then there was Aunt Doris, then Aunt Amber, oh am I thankful for good memories. Yes I look back but very thankful I can look ahead. I am also thankful God allowed me to have these women in my life. I am enjoying my mom every day even when we are apart.

    • I missed this comment, Bonnie, as wordpress decided to put it in the trash bin. Just found it today and so happy you enjoyed this post. We have had some amazing women in our lives, haven’t we? And I’m so glad I still have Auntie, too. I know you appreciate her every day. XOXO

  10. You’ve got another crying blog reader here. Reading another person’s experience and reliving mine has an element of healing. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Brought tears to my eyes too, Molly. And laughter. That line about the chocolate covered raisins? Classic. Also, I’d not heard of the letter writing using the right and left hands and I do thank you for sharing that. Speaking of sharing, I’m off to do that. I loved this.

    • Thank you Kelly. I like to change things up and make people cry once in a while. 🙂 The letter writing truly is a magical thing. I have done this several times – when I lost Mom, Dad and then my sister. What is surprising is what your left hand writes. It almost seems like a little portable ougee board. It has been very therapeutic for me and comforting. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing.

  12. Oh, Molly, this brought tears to my eyes, especially your mom’s note. Your post is such a poignant tribute to your love for her–and hers for you. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you Roxanne. I was hoping I could depict the love Mom and I had for each other, and you have given me validation that it did shine through. I was a Mama’s girl for sure. The family joke was that she rocked me in the family rocking chair until my legs were so long she couldn’t rock anymore. Now I have that rocking chair and it is in our spare room set up for our grandsons. I’ve had the pleasure of rocking both little boys in that same chair. Thanks so much for your comments.

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