An Open Letter to my Mom on the Eve of my Dad’s Wedding

Dear Mom:

It’s almost four years since you died. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago and sometimes it feels like yesterday.  Mostly, it feels long, long ago as it’s hard to remember what life felt like when you were here.

Time has marched on just as everyone predicted. I don’t know if your absence has gotten easier to bear, but I’ve certainly become more used to it. It’s corny but true; you are still very much alive, carried in the hearts of many of us still here. You are very loved, appreciated, emulated and admired. 

So let me get to the point of why I’m writing. I wanted to fill you in on big news, if Dad hasn’t already.

Dad is getting married this weekend.  Surprisingly (to everyone else, I think) I’m truly happy and excited for him and for his fiancée.  He is marrying a really great woman who was widowed at a young age. She has terrific kids and really has become part of the family.  I am so impressed with how she has respected Dad’s large extended family and embraced it. I’m sure it can be intimidating and overwhelming, but she’s never tried to separate him from those he loves. I respect that and think it reflects her own confidence in who she is and their relationship. That is huge. She’s not exactly like you (though she looks like she could be your sister or mine) but I kind of like that. It’s like Dad isn’t trying to re-create his life with you, which would make me uncomfortable. For, how could he ever? I like that it’s a new chapter for him, for our family and one that’s about them and not about you or his life before.

It wasn’t Plan A, but it’s a pretty ideal Plan B. And it’s filled with love.

I think you are on the same page. I am once again grateful for the time we had together to prepare for your death, as awful as it seemed at the time. I hope you take comfort in knowing even though you’re not here, you make me a better person each day. 

I’m happy that Dad isn’t alone, and I know you would be too. I’m happy he’s so happy again. I’m happy he has someone to do all those things with that you both probably talked about doing together once the kids were older and he was slowing down at work. I wish it were with you, but I’m not angry he gets to do it with someone else and I hope no one begrudges him that. I’m happy he has someone to love him as a partner and not just as a child or grandchild would. I’m happy that this very nice woman seems to appreciate him, and I’m glad for her that she will have someone as amazing as Dad with whom to share her life. I’m happy that she’s become my friend and that it’s easy and not stressful for us to spend time together. I’m very happy that her kids, who aren’t that much older than mine and were all but babies when they lost their dad, will have a father figure in their life who is a good role model, a great man and a wonderful dad.  They deserve that.

Overall I’m very happy for them, and for Dad.

I won’t lie and say I’m not also sad.

I’m sad you’re not here. I’m sad that you can’t be the one to do all those things you both probably talked about doing together one day, when there would be time and money. I’m sad you didn’t get time to reap the joys of being a grandmother, and I’m sad you had such a small window of time to be friends with your daughter. You deserved that – you, the woman whose own mother teased her, calling her Pollyanna for being so sweet, good and truthful.  I’m sad I don’t have a mom to call for advice or shop with or gossip to or complain about our jobs, husbands and kids. I’m sad you had more years with the push-and-pull of mothering and not more years of the reward of friendship with your children and the grandchild adoration. I’m sad that my kids will never know you nor get that special grandmother time with you or have you at school events, holiday celebrations or milestone moments. I’m sad they won’t get postcards from you on vacation and sleepovers at your house on school breaks. I’m sad that you will not be here to teach them proper etiquette and good manners and how to keep their stomachs in and their shoulders back for good posture, as I know from my own experience how unlikely it is they’ll listen to those lessons from their mom or dad.

I’m sad you won’t have that chance to utter, “I didn’t wish it on you,” as you laugh, watching them as teenagers treat me the way I know I treated you.  I’m sad they won’t have you to call from college when they’re mad at me. I’m sad you won’t be there to speak your mind about the people they’ll date or to beam with pride when they get married or start their first jobs or have children.

Basically, I am so sorry for you that you’re gone. I don’t know they’ll ever understand what they lost.

Maybe another time I’ll share a letter with you about what they’re like today. I wrote quite a bit about them to put in here for you. But this was supposed to be about sharing this weekend’s news with you and letting you know I’m okay. Everyone keeps asking, so you were probably wondering too.

I love you, I love Dad and I love my family. Old and new.

Love, Me

December 5, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.