Twenty-four days ago, my Mama went to heaven. It’s taken me these three weeks to put this on paper because it’s so precious to me and it’s hard to share right now… it’s on my heart every day. When someone passes, there always seems to be interesting things that happen, signs either not noticed before or which appear afterwards as gifts. And this was my gift.
Mama was one of the kindest people I know. She did for us and others more than we could have asked, she loved on people daily, and people loved her. But that being said, Mama was not a real sharer of feelings. We didn’t have in depth conversation about how much we loved each other, although we told each other often, we just knew it. I’m just always pouring out my emotional bucket and she held hers closer which makes my gift so much more special as I would have never expected it.
The week before Mama passed was spent by her bedside as many of you have experienced with loved ones. There were long days and nights, hours of sitting, dozing, watching her breath, making her comfortable, holding her hand, talking to her, brushing her hair….here I go again. None of that seems real now and is still hard to think about. It’s nothing anyone wants to do but I will treasure being able to spend those last days with her. A couple of nights before she left us, I was just walking around the house lost, looking in random drawers for pictures, anything she’d touched or that mattered to her, anything with that distinctive handwriting she had…and that’s when I saw it and I saw my name. It sort of took my breath for a second because I’d been through that particular drawer many, many times. I pulled the folded piece of paper from the drawer and on the outside it read…
I even love the way she scratched out “my” Mother’s Day. It reads “This is from Tracey on Mother’s Day 2005. It is the sweetest letter and made me cry, and also made me grateful that she loves me this much.” She was grateful that I loved her that much… I barely remember writing the letter but I did it the year before Mom started experiencing visible symptoms of her disease.
In the last week of Mama’s life, I struggled with what I couldn’t do for her, and I still do. I fight feelings of whether we did the right things, could we have done anything to make it easier, to have kept her longer, but for what… to live the life she was living which was a life she didn’t know? I know deep down she knew I loved her but these last years, could I have done more, been there more? I’m sure we all go through these feelings. But to know in this moment as she laid in the bed a few feet away breathing in the last hours of her life, to know she knew is worth more than I can ever have imagined.
Thank you to God for giving me to the Mama He did. Mama, I miss you more than I can put into words. I want to call you, sit with you, hold your hand one more time, give you another cookie or a bite of ice cream… I just miss you with all of my heart. Leave me a trail of lipstick blots… I sent it with you just so you could.
The letter I wrote to my dear sweet Mama on Mother’s Day 2005, the woman I was so proud to call my own: