Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mother Letter Project

I found this awesome blog called Mother Letter Project. This husband and wife and their extended family decided not to buy each other gifts this year for Christmas and instead will be giving the money they would have spent to a charity. They can make gifts, so he came up with the idea to have people write letters to a mother and he is compiling them into a book for his wife. Please visit his blog and write your own letter. If you submit a letter before Christmas he will send you a finished product via email. Writing this letter ended up being very therapeutic for me as I wrote my deceased mother. This Christmas morning at 7am she will have been gone for 12 years. I'm having a very hard time this year. I don't know why, but it feels like she just died last year. I figured out that there are things in this letter that have never been verbalized in the 12 years that she has been gone. Below is the letter. It's long, but if you feel so inclined please read and take a peek into my heart about my dear, sweet mother, my best friend.

December 2008
Dear Mother,

I’m really missing you this Christmas. Christmas morning celebrates twelve years since you died, passed away, were taken to be the Lord. However you want to say it, you are gone and I miss you. Sometimes it feels like it was just last year. You were only fifty-three when you died. 53. You were not very old. You were young. You were supposed to live a long time. You were supposed to die before me, but not before we shared a long life together. You were supposed to help me with my children, be their grandma, but you aren’t. You died. You left me. God decided that you had served your purpose here on earth and he was ready to call you home. I wasn’t ready to let you go.

You served Him most of your life. We still hear from people how you touched their lives. I know that there are people in Heaven because of you, but why did you have to leave us at 53? I love the Lord with all my heart, but sometimes I do not get Him. You could have done so much more for His kingdom. You could have touched so many more lives, but you were called home.

I remember as a child your sweet face, your embrace, your smell (Avon deodorant) your smile, and your willingness to help anyone. You always put others first no matter what and if there was a child around you would have been the first person to help them. You took a child that was not your own to church every Sunday for years. You didn’t have to do that. I’m sure that sometimes it was hard with your schedule, but that child’s relationship with the Lord was more important than anything you could have ever scheduled.

You bought us things for Christmas and made our birthdays unforgettable even when we lived almost in poverty. Mom, I never even knew when we were poor because I knew I had a home to come to and parents who loved me. I remember fun vacations in our trailer, your antique businesses, you being my AWANA leader at church, you singing to me, making up stories with me, loving me no matter what. When I told you I wanted to work with kids at church when I was older you encouraged me do it then. You believed in me and I have worked with kids, mom, 24 years now.

Speaking of that mom, I went back to college. You would be so proud of me. I’m graduating with my Elementary Education degree. I’m going to be a teacher mom, a teacher. I graduate in May and the hardest thing about that is you will not be sitting in the audience to see it, but don’t worry, Aunt Linda is coming and I am dedicating my diploma to you. I could have never done it without you mom. You were there with me.

I really miss you mom and you know what, even though I think that it is a shame you are not here to continue to touch peoples lives I figured out something. You are still touching people’s lives. You passed on your creativity to me. I love kids like you did. I am very giving like you were. I sing to my kids and make up stories. I have been their leader at church. I always look for ways to help others sometimes even above myself. You have passed all these wonderful traits on to me and I am passing them on to my kids, so mom, you are still touching many people’s lives. Thank you for all the wonderful things you taught me. I will always be grateful.

Mom, I don’t know if you know that I got pregnant a month after you died, pregnant with your granddaughter. We named her Patricia Eilene. Yup, she’s named after you mom. Even though you were called Patti, we decided to call her Tricia. You would love her. She’s 11 now. She looks just like me mom. She is very creative. She’s very artistic. She loves kids. She’s played the violin and now takes guitar lessons. She’s a tomboy and hates the color pink. She loves the outdoors and wants to be an architect when she grows up, for now anyway. She wants a real pygmy goat and a snowboard for Christmas. I’m scared she’s going to break a bone on her snowboard and we’ve said no to the pygmy goat even though she has done her research and emailed us, so who knows what she is going to get this year. Mom, I got to lead her to the Lord when she was just three years old. I’m sure you danced with the angels that day and had a huge party. She reminds me so much of you. It breaks my heart that you don’t get to know her. I can only imagine the AWESOME things you would do together and how much you would have taught her. I do not like being a mommy without having a mommy. Excuse the term, but it sucks.

On Tricia’s first birthday I knew I was pregnant again. I even told some of my friends at her party. We found we were having a baby boy, your grandson. Oh mom, you would adore him. He was the cutest baby. He laid in my womb funny and came out with a stiff neck. His head was bent to one side and he had to have physical therapy. We do not know if this is what caused his lazy eye or not. He has had glasses since he was two. He will have to wear them the rest of his life, but boy is he cute. He’s 9 now. He’s got the best sense of humor. He still hugs and kisses me in public, holds my hand in front of his friends, and kisses me all the time. He can sing like a lark. He is taking voice lessons and loves musical theater. He was just cast as a gosling in Charlotte’s Web. They did 11 shows and he was awesome and in the spring musical coming up at church he got a solo. He sang a solo last year at Christmas time at his voice teacher’s church. There was a full band and back up singers. He takes Kung Fu and only needs one more stripe to get his next belt. He just started playing clarinet in band at school. He’s getting really good. You can always here him singing or talking about his latest video game. He is so kind spirited, very sensitive, very creative, and is kind to everyone he meets and boy does he love to read. If you can’t find him he’s likely somewhere in the house with his nose stuck in the latest Manga magazine or a good book. Oh, and guess what? I led him to the Lord when he was just three also. I’m so happy you guys party up there when someone comes to the Lord. I just hope God let you know that the party was for your grandkids. I can just imagine you up there bragging to all your angel friends. You would love him so much. You would be so proud of him. I wish you could see him in his shows. It’s hard not having you in their lives. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like. They would be your buddies. You would want to hang with them all the time. I think I would have to fight for my mommy time, but you know what? I wouldn’t mind having you hear to fight with.

Mom, I’ve had some trouble in my life. Nothing major, but I’ve gained over 100 pounds since you died. I’ve been very disorganized in my home, and procrastinate all the time. I have hired a personal trainer to help me get healthy. I’m on my way to getting my house in order, and I’m finishing school which is a big hurdle in my procrastination battle. I’m not proud of these shortcomings, but I know that with the Lord’s help I will overcome them.

By the time I turn 40 I will have lost 130 pounds, competed in an Ironman, graduated from college, and just become a better person all around. I want you to know that I am doing this because you said something to me on your deathbed and it came back to me recently. You had become very thin because of your cancer. You had told me that you had told God that you would do whatever it took to get thin and that it wasn’t long after that you were diagnosed with cancer. You had me come close to you and you said, “Melissa, do not tell God you will do anything to get thin. I don’t want you to get cancer. Please get healthy now.” Well, I haven’t yet, but don’t you worry I am now. It’s been twelve years since you died and I haven’t done much to get healthy. I need to do it now and I need to keep the weight off. Then I will live the life that you had envisioned for me since you held me as a baby.

I may never understand why God took you away from me so early, but I do not want to have my kids go through the same thing. That is why I’m doing something now to better my life. Thank you for all your examples in my life. Thank you for all the traits that you have passed on to me. Thank you for loving me unconditionally no matter what I did as a kid or teen. Thank you for always being a hard worker and helping to provide for us kids. Thanks for standing by my dad through thick and thin. Thank you for loving my husband. Thank you for teaching me about the Lord. Thank you for the fun stories and songs. Thanks for letting me help when you taught preschool. Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Thanks for being my biggest cheerleader. Thanks for showing me what a mother should be. I pray that I will be half the mother you were to me. I love you so much.

Love your daughter,
Melissa Joy


Melissa Clayton said...

Melissa....That was beautiful! I'm sure your mom is rejoicing with Jesus. She would be very proud of you:) Love you....Melissa

Go Mom Go said...

What a tribute.
thank you for sharing it with us all.


Julia Ragsdell said...

Dear Melissa,

Your letter was touching and has left me in tears (my mother is alive but we do not have a relationship). Your mother sounds like a beautiful woman who passed on the gift of kindness to her daughter.

Way to go in the the road to weight-loss and finishing school. I wish you much luck with both.

May God bless you and everybody in your life this holiday season and always.

Take care,
Julia Ragsdell

DarCar said...

After that letter you should be in the Christmas spirit 10 fold. Since your Mom was also a Christmas Elf, and you have passed all these attributes to your kids, there is no reason to not celebrate her favorite holiday to the fullest of your capabilities.

I'm still teary eyed. You did a beautiful job!