It’s been a year since you left us. Passed on. Gone to Heaven. Died. And lately I have been missing you more than ever. There is so much I want to tell you, so much I want to share. I need your listening. You always listened, and no one else does. Not the way you did.
Emily just had brain surgery. You remember the tumor? It was benign, thank goodness. But her recovery has been rockier than we all imagined. She’s struggling. I want to tell you about it. I need to tell you. You are the only one who would get how hard it is when your baby is suffering and you just can’t help it go away. (I remember you said I have to stop calling them “my babies”, but now is just not the time.) I know you would cry with me and comfort me and say the right things. It’s so hard to say them to myself. I need your help.
There is so much that I wanted to tell you over this past year. How I conquered the crap situation at work. What I did in the garden this spring (you should see my wildflowers!) Emily’s Christmas wedding was beautiful. But Christmas itself was brutal. After the first of the year Veronica moved back in with me, and I think she’ll finally go back to school. You remember how much she loved her classes once she started them. She’s been a big help to Grandpa, too.
And he misses you by the way. I don’t think that should come as a surprise. As imperfect as your marriage was, he really misses you. But you would be proud of him. You prepared him well during your sickness; he can cook for himself, do laundry, and he’s even gardening. He does it for you, in your honor. He grew tomatoes from seed and bragged about his green thumb. It shattered me.
You should know, too, that we all created an altar for you and Eric last October at the museum. I kept all of your Day of the Dead stuff. It was beautiful and you would have been pleased. I stood to the side sometimes when I visited it and watched people read about you both. I wondered if they felt sad that we had lost a mother and a brother (a wife and a son, a Grandma and an uncle) within a year of each other. I had pictures of all the dogs, too. So many dogs in a lifetime, it was mind-boggling. We had lots of artifacts from your life and from Eric’s. It was cathartic to do it. But we won’t do it again. It hurt too much.
I am planting a tree in your memory on July 16th. I wanted to ask you what kind you would prefer. I suppose I will just have to take my best guess.
Mom, I know you are with me still. I have so much of your stuff that I always have a sweet reminder of you. I’m wearing your nightgown as I write this. I have memories of our conversations, too. Dad could never believe how long we would stay on the phone when I was making long drives, remember? Now Emily calls me on her long drives. (The doctors will have to clear her to drive again, sometimes it takes a few months.)
I have a request: would you please visit my dreams more often? Visit dad, too. He dreamt that you were at a party full of ladies wearing pink and drinking champagne. You were all laughing. He smiled when he told me. I know you must be busy, but you should make it a point to say hello once in a while. It would mean a lot.
How do I end a letter to someone I already said goodbye to? I guess I can just say thank you: thank you for the unconditional love. I think I’ll never have that again. But I had it for 54 years. Your own mother died so young. I feel lucky. I remember something you used to say:
My Mother loved me, but she died.