Dear Mom

It’s been a year since we said goodbye. Though we talked a lot in your last days, I have some other things I need to say.

Congratulations on your one year anniversary of enjoying heaven with dad. You’ve beaten your record of life without kids by three months. And mom, you’d be so proud of us. We have supported each other. Listened to each others troubles. In other words, we’ve tried to take your place. But we’re not you.

The relentlessness of your loss is still knocking us down. For a while, we all pretended you were on vacation. But your ongoing absence has marked us like a burn. It hurts so much. And every day we rip the bandage off and think that maybe now the wound is going to heal. But it never does. Not completely. It feels better for a while, but then the pain comes back. It takes us by surprise, every time.

You know all about it. Like every human being on the planet, you suffered your own losses. And complaining is not the point of this anniversary message, because you were never a whiner. This is a fan letter, mom. You probably didn’t get enough of those when you were alive.

You were a rock star at dying. Talk about setting an example. We sang you to heaven, but you opened the gates with your prayer, and your absolute faith. It was such an honour to be there with you. Your body was so small at the end, but your spirit filled the room. Such a big spirit.

Your faith, kindness, and unflinching moral code were an example for all. If we turn away from the path of love, it will not be because of you. You are the most powerful person I’ve ever known. Humble, unassuming, unpretentious. But so strong. More than the light of one star, you are a constellation.

I can only imagine the strength it took to raise seven kids. To help with your sixteen grandchildren. Being there when they came into the world. And going to work from there! You still amaze me. You’ve been the guardian and heart of our whole extended family. An energizer bunny powered by love, and never quitting until your heart finally made the decision for you.

We miss you so much, mom. You and dad, we’re grateful for all you did for us. If I was a little kid again, and you were here, I’d watch Hymn Sing with you. I wouldn’t bug you about buying me Go Go boots, or one of those pedal cars. I guess this is the lesson we carry with us. We have everything we need when we have each other.

Thank you for the example you set from the time I was little. Thank you for helping me with my kids. With my babyTrekker business. For all your prayers and pep talks and encouragement. Give dad a kiss, and Ann and Vic a hug. And Merry Christmas to you all.

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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